Turkey’s cultural and religious heritage is being destroyed

The Turkish state is destroying historical sites belonging to Assyrians, Jews, Armenians, Kurds and Christians across the country. Just recently the world famous Hagia Sofia Museum was converted into a mosque, and buildings of worship belonging to minority faiths Turkey regularly face either forced conversion into a mosque or wilful neglect and disrepair by the State.

 

The latest victim is the St Georgios Greek Orthodox Church in Bursa. The Church is estimated to have been built in 1896 and had been turned into a mosque after the war. The Church, known as the Hagia Sophie of Bursa, had been taken into the management of the Nilufer municipality when it was opened as cultural centre. However, the State Directorate for Foundations, forced the authority to pass on ownership to the Inesiye Village Mosque foundation, which left the Church in such disrepair that it collapsed.  The Nilüfer Municipality tried to take back the ownership and rehabilitate the structure in 2016 but failed.

The case of the St Georgios Church is just one example, of the contempt towards different cultures, religions, languages and traditions by the Turkish state. We must not remain silence as Turkey’s religious, ethnic and cultural diversity is destroyed, and must call for an end to Erdogan and the AKP government’s destruction of Turkey’s heritage.

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