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Turkish mosque converted into food bank during COVID-19 outbreak

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Abdulsamet Cakir (L), 33, imam of the Dedeman mosque works as a man waits at the entrance of the Dedeman mosque on April 21, 2020
Abdulsamet Cakir (L), 33, imam of the Dedeman mosque works as a man waits at the entrance of the Dedeman mosque on April 21, 2020   -   Copyright  BULENT KILIC/AFP or licensors
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An Istanbul mosque has been turned into a food bank to help the poor during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Located in Istanbul's Sariyer district, the Dedeman mosque, closed like all places of worship in Turkey, has been transformed by its young imam, Abdulsamet Cakir.

"After prayers were suspended, I had the idea of reviving the mosque by allowing well-off people to help the ones in need," Cakir, 33, told the AFP.

Shelves usually reserved for the faithfuls' shoes are full of packets of pasta, biscuits and bottles of olive oil.

AFP or licensors
Abdulsamet Cakir, 33, imam of the Dedeman mosque carries goods at the entrance of the Dedeman mosque on April 21, 2020, in the Sariyer district of IstanbulAFP or licensorsBULENT KILIC

Posters on the mosque's windows call for those who can to drop non-perishable food items and for those in need to come and help themselves.

Cakir said the initiative was inspired by the "sadaka tasi" tradition, a stone with a hole in it that contained charity items for the poor.

Over 2,200 people have died due to the pandemic of COVID-19 in Turkey, which counts over 95,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus. Half of the cases are in Istanbul.