We could not meet. I knew that he was unjustly prisoned for years after the Feb. 28 coup, that he was persecuted. I learned yesterday that the night before his martyrdom they talked about me with a mutual friend. It seems we were not destined to meet in this world; God willing, we might meet in the Hereafter.
We were not at the same place with Kantarcı, but I can understand the kind of spiritual state he was in at the time of his martyrdom and with what emotions he wrote that tweet. Around about the same time, we were in Saraçhane, where we had 17 martyrs. I stopped and looked now and saw that I added the comment, “Gun, siren and sala sounds at Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality [İBB]…” to the last video I shared just before my phone's battery died. Time: 2:46 a.m.
The F-16s had started to fly in Fatih's skies at the time we went from Vatan Avenue to Saraçhane. People, thinking that the “sonic boom” effect of low flying aircraft are bombs, started to run left and right and then continued to progress toward the square again. What I felt when we entered Saraçhane Square was beyond a coup. It was like invasion planes were flying over us and enemy soldiers had landed in Saraçhane Square, shooting everybody. The sirens of fire trucks were mixing with the constant gun noises. Someone would get wounded and just as the youth quickly carry them to a vehicle, trying to avoid becoming a bullet target, someone else would get wounded. It was like doomsday. But nobody who was there, out in the square, felt fear. However, the adhan – call for prayer – rising from the minarets made us all say, “even if the whole world is against us, faith is with us.”
On that night, when Turkey reared up to challenge the coup perpetrators and people ran toward death for the sake of their homeland, one of the most important elements that supported them was the voice of the muadhdhins calling the adhan, the sala, rising from all the minarets across the county. As the “Assalatu wassalaamu alayka ya Rasulallah” (Peace and blessings be on you, O Messenger of Allah) continued to rise from minarets, those resisting the coup felt they were not alone. As the muadhdhins continued to recite, “Hayya alal salah, hayya alal falah” (Come to prayer, come to success, to salvation), people felt calm, relief, strength and confidence in their hearts. As the words of the national anthem were heard from mosques, it was sealed in hearts that the struggle was a struggle for independence and the future.
I remember something there that night, that doomsday is going to be just like this; the hearts of those who seek asylum in God that day, those who are on the path of God are going to be at ease, their faces are going to be bright like this, yet we are going to see the disbelievers' hearts terrified, their eyes sorrowful, their faces darkened.
Kantırcı's last tweet before reaching martyrdom, “The magnificent symbol of national will: ADHAN AL-MUHAMMADI,” is describing this ease, this calm. Ankara Kocatepe Mosque imam, preacher İsmail Coşar Hodja, explains what happened that night as follows:
“I was going home after the evening prayer. When I saw the planes in the sky, I thought, 'They are probably preparing for the Aug. 30 Victory Day.' When it wouldn't end I understood something else was going on. I returned to the mosque and climbed to the top of the minaret, which is when I realized the situation might be a coup attempt. While our Presidency of Religious Affairs (DİB) head, Mehmet Görmez Hodja, was calling us to the minarets on television, our Ankara Governor Mehmet Kılıçlar also called by phone and made the same request and hence, we started to call the sala nonstop. We reached 90 percent of Ankara with the central system and after the sala we said, 'Dear brothers and sisters, for the sake of God, for the country, for the flag, for adhan, for Islam, run to the squares upon the call of our president…” and my friends and I, together we continued.”
Görmez, who quickly went live in response to the joint broadcast by TV channels Kanal 7 and Ülke TV, sent SMS messages to all mosque imams and muadhdhins in Turkey at the same time that night and said:
“It is the greatest obligation to do our duty today to protect our people's rights. Disregarding the country and nation's unity, peace and felicity, the forceful and violent violation of the national will can never be accepted. As the spiritual guides of our nation, we are together with our people against all kinds of illegal attempts. I call you all to stand against this big betrayal against our people, without resorting to violence, from our minarets, the symbols of freedom. Tonight, the lights of minarets will be on, sala prayers will be recited to call our people to protect their rights.”
Yeni Şafak photo journalist Mustafa Cambaz, who posted his last tweet “We are going out to the street upon the request and order of Commander-in-Chief [Recep Tayyip] Erdoğan,” on the night of July 15 and went to martyrdom, Kantarcı, who reached calm with the sound of adhan, our brothers İlhan Varank and Erol Olçak, our hero soldier Ömer Halisdemir and all our other martyrs whose names I could not be listed were not alone. Those who sacrificed themselves for the country, those who were wounded, were not alone when they were reaching calm. Mosques, salas, adhans and all Muslims, oppressed and innocent, were with us.
That night, our president and commander-in-chief, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, was not alone either. Millions poured into the streets with a single call from Erdoğan and threw themselves in front of weapons, tanks and terrorists, and resisted. The Muslim world turned to mosques to pray for Turkey. Adhans were called, salas were recited. And those whose hearts are darkened and eyes blinded witnessed something else besides defeat that night: Erdoğan, who had the people flood the streets with a single call today, may also be able to get the ummah to flood the streets with another call in the future. Surely!