Ambassador Ahmet Demirok Gave An Interview To "al Raya" Daily On The Occasion Of Ramadan
Al Raya Newspaper
By Ibrahim Badawi
H.E Mr. Ahmet Demirok, Ambassador of the Republic of Turkey in Doha, expressed his sincere congratulations to H.H Emir of Qatar, the government and the Qatari people on the occasion of the the holy month of Ramadan.
And he stressed in an interview with "Al Raya" on the convergence between Qatari and Turkish people in the celebration of Ramadan which highlights the interest in family visits that strengthen the links between families and increase the joy of the holidays.
The Turkish Ambassador has expressed his pleasure to spend Ramadan in Qatar with his family, saying that he used to work in Western capitals in Ramadan and Doha is the first Arab capital that he spends Ramadan in his career. Therefore, Doha has a special place in his heart.
H.E also spoke about childhood memories in Ramadan and its celebration, customs and traditions that used to be exercised by the Turkish people and other details in the following lines.
The third time
The Turkish Ambassador said: “This will be the third time for me and my family to spend Ramadan in Doha, we feel like fasting in our hometown as a result of the cultural similarities between our brotherly countries”.
The first Arab country
About the main differences between Ramadan in Qatar and the Arab and Islamic countries that he worked in, Ambassador Demirok said: “I am in Qatar for 3 years now. Qatar has been the first Arab country I spent Ramadan. I used to work in Western countries during my diplomatic career and fasting in Qatar is two hours less than in Turkey, and I remember when I was Counsel General in London we were fasting almost 19 hours. But the spirituality of Ramadan itself gives you a great capacity for endurance and patience.”
Going back to Ramadan and the most prominent ancestral traditions that still exist so far in Turkey, His Excellency said that “Mesahharati” still exists, and he roams the streets at night, beating his drum and singing Ramadan phrases to wake people on suhour time. This tradition is still alive in many cities and rural areas in Turkey.
His Excellency said: “Going back to the childhood memories in Ramadan, the task of listening to the azan of Maghreb and informing the family about the Iftar has a great and special space in my memory. I remember very well that I used to go out of the house to listen to the voice of the muezzin during Maghreb time and then run quickly to the house to give the good news. It was beautiful days full of joy and happiness, and we all know that Iftar is a great time especially for the fasting children”.
He continued: “We have a certain way in teaching the children how to fast for the first time and this is done gradually. They are trained to fast from dawn until noon where they take lunch and then fasting until Iftar time. A lot of children have great enthusiasm to imitate the adults in fasting the holy month. We raise our children to respect Allah Almighty and as they know fasting is a commandment of Islam they respect it and are willing to perform”.
H.E Ambassador Demirok said: “Besides its religious aspect, Ramadan is also a social occasion that gives us an important opportunity to meet with friends and relatives and bring us together around the same Ramadan table. We share a lot of conversations in an atmosphere full of love and affection which enhances the ties of kinship and bonds among the family members”.
And on similarities between Qatar and Turkey in Ramadan and Eid, H.E said: “There is a great similarity between all Arab and Islamic people in spending Ramadan and receiving Eid al-Fitr”. We as Muslims feel great pleasure while fasting because it is a good opportunity to cleanse the soul and body alike. We all welcome with enthusiasm Eid al-Fitr like an award from Allah Almighty.
He added: “In Turkey, as in Qatar, there is a great interest in the performance of Tarawih prayers in the mosques. And the families accompany their children to the mosque to experience the spirituality of Ramadan and to practice the rituals and prayers in full tranquility and happy atmosphere. Turkey has many open places where young people and families visit to rest and spend times of enjoyment in the outdoors.
With regard to the atmosphere of Iftar and suhour of Ramadan in Doha, the Turkish Ambassador said: “Qatari people are very hospitable and we receive many invitations for Iftar and suhour in Qatar during the Ramadan. Iftar and suhour are overwhelmed by the feelings of affection, communication and participation of others”.
Ghabqa of Qatar
And about the Ramadan traditions in Doha, H.E said: “There is great interest in Qatar for Ghabqa meal that comes after Tarawih prayers, while Turks care more for Iftar that forms a great joy for the fasting person, and both are characterized by the gathering of parents and relatives on the Ramadan table.
H.E has confirmed that the relation between the Qatari and the Turkish people is very strong, and there is an obvious correlation between them. Establishing stronger ties between our peoples paves the way for catching up potential in all fields.
His Excellency also said that the relations between Qatar and Turkey are highly excellent and due to this great convergence between the peoples of the two countries, Turkey has become the main touristic destination for Qataris. Last year was the Qatari- Turkish cultural year, and witnessed many events and joint activities in both countries. The cultural year was a great opportunity to release the potential in cultural and social fields and to cement our relations at grassroots level.
On the occasion of 2015 Year of Culture, we opened Yunus Emre Turkish Cultural Center in Doha. The first Turkish school will be hopefully opened in September 2016. We are also working on the development of trade exchange to reach the level of the big potential and aspirations of the two sides.
His Excellency: “Seizing this opportunity, I wish all the Qatari brothers and sisters in particular, and whole Islamic world in general a happy Ramadan and Eid Al-Fitr.”