Turkish Airlines Plans To Allow Prayer In The Cockpit

Turkish Airlines Chairman Ahmet Bolat shared on LinkedIn that the carrier would update its rules to allow pilots to pray in the cockpit. Responding to a question about appearance,

Please do not make me talk with regards to the headscarf issue as I had to look for wig for my daughters in 2005 in Beyoğlu (district) for them to enter the university exams. Beard is a more secondary issue next to that. Firstly, a rule is coming for those wanting to perform their praying duty in cockpit and (aircraft) cabin. Thank you for reminding me.

To some Western sensibilities it may be disconcerting that Turkish Airlines pilots feel they need to pray while flying. However I suspect that the airline’s pilots aren’t actually the audience for any such change.

The Star Alliance carrier is over 49% owned by the government, is the national carrier, and operates in some measure as a state instrument. They serve more countries than any other airline.

Prime Minister Erdogan, having secured another term after disqualifying his top opponent, ran on traditional Muslim family values. Airlines are prominent and public, so statements like this raise the relative status of Muslim practice within the country.

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  1. To be fair, it’s not that they may or may not feel the NEED to pray, rather there are prescribed times for prayer and it could easily come up during the flight.

  2. While flying for Saudia in 1980, it was not uncommon for a Moslem crewmember to unroll their prayer rug in the cockpit . . . but then it was an L-1011 which had a cockpit slightly smaller than a hotel room. Could be a problem in a DC-9/MD-80.

  3. Not a Turkey expert here, but I think Kemal Atatürk was right – secularism is the right path. Think “Separation between church and State”. Instead we see the Islamization of the State…and the cockpit being drawn into it. Theocracy, and “theocracy lite” do not and will not end well.

  4. Allowing Muslim prayers in the workplace… no different than those fighting for Christian prayers in the workplace.

    Religious freedumbs! Yeah!

  5. Assuming there is enough room to lay a carpet behind the captain’s seat and the AUTOpilot is on at cruising that’s ok. But not on take-off or landing.

  6. @Too Many,

    We all love people who mock “freedumbs”….exposes your inner fascist strikingly.

    @ For the normal, non hateful, non petty tyrant aspiring members of this group,

    at EK the Muslim flight deck crew would just ask if I needed a coffee, step out of the flight deck, pray by the L1 door for 5 min, then come back back with a fresh coffee and a couple of those shortbread butter cookies. A few times they’d pray in the flight deck but not very comfortable for them, Not a big deal.

  7. This is profiling or tagging someone who is not praying in cockpits because Akp erdogan made this another foundations like army. They put some rules just releasing her or his profile like if he or she is muslim personality or praying . That means people in Turkiye do not have to be Muslim or sunni muslim to work in somewhere or make a career, like how akp did in army also they made this thy to reveal who is muslim who will continue his or her career. Otherwise they are driven to another low level flights.

  8. Well as a USA and Turkish national I atleast go to Turkey once a year in business class and pay alot. If that’s the case I take my business somewhere else.

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