Turkey buys back and restores its mosques

Turkey has bought back many mosques that have been closed after a law passed in 1935 giving permission for sales and over the past 12 years have restored over 4,000 historic buildings including mosques, prayer halls, hostels and public baths.

Turkey buys back and restores its mosques

World Bulletin/News Desk

Turkey's National Foundations General Manager Adnan Ertem said that some mosques and prayer centers that were sold in 1935 will be restored and re-opened for congregational prayer.

Ertem said that the amount of restorations that have occurred in the country in the past 12 years cannot be compared to any other time in recent history. Restoring buildings that were on the verge of extinction, Ertem said, “Three mosques in Izmir have been closed for years. Kumrulu mosque, Seyh Bedri Efendi Tomb and Mosque, and the Baladur mosque. These have been closed for years for various reasons, with many of them in ruins through neglect, and have been languished. One of them was closed because it was in a landslide or disaster area, yet this wasn't the case.

Ertem pointed out that some mosques in Istanbul were restored. He pointed out the example of “Kazasker Abdurrahman Mosque, which had a cafeteria built over it, that cafeteria has been now closed and the mosque has now been restored”.

Ertem also highlighted a law that was brought about in 1935 that stated that mosques within 500 metres of another mosque being closed down. “A law stated that if a mosque that was active had another mosque that was close to it, it would be shut down. I'm not saying that was the clear law. However the Sehzadebasi Mosque in Fatih had another mosque 500 metres within its vicinty and it was closed down”.

In regard to sales of mosques, he stated that both in Kilis and Ardahan that mosques had been sold are now under government control as well as the Tavukcu Prayer Hall and Zafran Mosque in Bursa. These in fact were used as private residences. The government has bought them back and have now restored them”.

With the aim of acting in accordance with the foundation, Ertem said, “The property has been entrusted to us by the foundation, and it is our duty to keep these alive as much as our opportunities to us allow. There are many examples of mosques that are not owned by the government and we are in the process of doing that”.

Since 2002 almost 4,000 different buildings have been restored including public baths, tombs, hostels, mosques, Ertem said that, “Almost 100 mosques have been reopened due to the reconstruction work”.

Ertem said that the opening of the Hagia Sophia Mosque in 2011 in Iznik after restoration efforts were damaged in a fire in the 1920's. It is now opened for prayer services after being a museum for many years. The Hagia Sophia mosque in Trabzon has also been opened for prayer services after being closed for 50 years and it is still undergoing renovations.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 10 Aralık 2014, 16:12