The historical mosque in Rhodes is turned into a church through the European Union funds. While the discussions are going on about building a mosque in Athens, it is reported that the historical Muradiye Mosque in Rhodes from the Ottoman period is tried to be transformed into a church by being restored with the European Union funds. It is reported that works are launched to turn the mosque, where there are also Turkish graves, into a church. News is heard that Muradiye Mosque, which located in the Rodini region of the Rhodes Island in the intersection point of Mela Paulou and Riga Fereou Street, will be turned into a church so as to serve as a church named “Cyprus House”. It is learned that Muradiye Mosque belonged to the Rhodes Muslim Turkish Congregation and was left to the Rhodes Head Metropolitan Office by the congregation leaders assigned by the Junta Administration of the period at the beginning of 1970s. It is reported that the mosque had a imam and a muezzin until recently and was open for worship, but was closed after the death of the imam and the muezzin of the mosque. It is understood that the head metropolitan office has taken action after that and started works to transform the mosque into a church. The budget needed for demolishing the mosque was financed by the European Union funds. It is learned that the financing of the restoration works of the mosque to be transformed into a church is provided from the funds coming from the EU. It is reported that the domes of the mosque were demolished and the windows were changed with a budget of 400.000 Euro from the EU funds under the said project. While there are news saying that the Turkish graves in the garden were destructed and the gravestones were dig up, it is reported that a new roof unique to Japan architecture is being constructed for the mosque. This attempt of the church leaders and Greek authorities to eliminate Muslim values rather than an approach covering the brotherhood of communities of different religions and the mutual respect for religious elements is appraised as a violation of freedom of religion and worship. Particularly the use of the European Union funds for the said project draws attention as an interesting aspect of the issue. While the European Union funds should be used for the preservation of historical and cultural artifact which are the richness of cultures, the use of European Union funds to destroy those artifact and to elevate Christian values is noted as being contrary to the rules and principles of the European Union. While the Turks are not allowed to use the European Union funds, the funds are let use for the destruction of the mosque. After the event was heard, Halit Habipoğlu, the president of the Federation of Western Thrace Turks in Europe (ABTTF) made a declaration and showed reaction to the project. He stated that the enabling of funds for use for demolishing a mosque while the Turks in the Western Thrace are not allowed to use the European Union funds was an obvious discrimination. Habipoğlu said “the Turks are not allowed to use the European Union funds coming to the Western Thrace but a fund of 400.000 Euro is let use for demolishing our mosque, an artifact belonging to our culture, in the Rhodes Island and turn it into a church. This is a clear example of discrimination policies in Greece. I condemn the authorities of our country for this event and I invite the European Union authorities to search and investigate the discriminations against the Turks in terms of allowing the use of funds. It is time for the European Union to take the initiative on this matter and to investigate who is using the funds sent to Greece for which purpose”. It is eagerly anticipated whether the European Union is going to take a step on this matter.
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