Imam in Southern Türkiye Crafts Traditional Flutes, Offers Serenity in Historical Mosque

by Madonna

Ibrahim Gulcu, a 37-year-old imam of the Payas Selim II Mosque, built in 1574 in Türkiye’s southern province of Hatay, enchants visitors with his soothing ney music in the mosque’s courtyard.

Gulcu’s passion for crafting ney flutes began 12 years ago at the mosque, located within the Sokullu Mehmet Pasha Complex. He converted part of the mosque into a workshop, where he spends his free time making these traditional end-blown flutes.


His music, played under the shade of a 1,357-year-old monumental olive tree in the mosque’s courtyard, attracts both local and foreign visitors. Gulcu also gifts the neys he crafts to students, including those affected by the February 6, 2023, earthquakes in southern Türkiye.


In an interview with Anadolu, Gulcu shared that his passion for ney-making started out of curiosity and has since become a significant part of his life. He has received positive feedback from the mosque’s congregation, known locally as the Sari Selim Mosque.


“Under the olive tree, I play the pieces requested by our congregation, and we receive wonderful comments. Besides hymns, I also play ancestral pieces. Some visitors, intrigued by the sound, want to learn how to make and play the ney,” he noted.

“There are 20 students to whom I offer free ney-crafting and playing lessons. I derive no profit from the neys I produce. I gift them to my students, especially to our earthquake-affected brothers and sisters.”

The Sokullu Mehmet Pasha Complex and Payas Selim II Mosque, designed by Mimar Sinan in 1574, attract numerous local and international visitors. Fluent in Arabic, French, and English, Gulcu also provides tourists with historical insights into the site.


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