Today’s guest is Baris Erman from Instanbul, who is a member of Musavat Lodge #11, part of the Grand Lodge of Turkey.
Baris contacted me to explain the differences between Freemasonry in England and Turkey, and it was so interesting I had to have him as a guest on In The Chair.
The first thing we discuss is how Entered Apprentices and Fellowcrafts progress through the Craft. In Turkey this is not only a slower process, and members must demonstrate knowledge by writing short essays and attend a minimum number of meetings, and these meetings often involve a lecture and discussion.
And once a Master Mason starts progressing through the Offices it can still take over 20 years to become Worshipful Master, especially as offices are held for two years.
Because Turkey is very multicultural it is standard to have the Torah, Bible and Quran on the Master’s pedestal, as well as any others should a member of a different religion also be in attendance.
In Turkey it is often perceived that Freemasonry is an atheist organisation, which is contrary to how Freemasonry is often perceived in Western countries where it is assumed it is more religious than Craft masonry is.
We also discuss the history of Freemasonry in Turkey. It isn’t a smooth history with many splits and break-ups through-out its history – if you’d like to find out more there’s a link to some articles below. We also cover how the language barriers are overcome in a country so diverse as Turkey.
An interesting thing that surprised me is Royal Arch Chapter never made it to Turkey, though other orders based on the Scottish Rite did.
Links from the show
The Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons in Turkey website
Article on the history of Freemasonry in Turkey
Article on the history of Freemasonry in Islamic Cultures
Kennet Lodge, 4414 (My Lodge) Website
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