Saturday, April 13 2024
Broken Clouds
49.1°F New York

Celik slams Greece over ‘barbaric’ treatment of Ottoman legacy

Celik slams Greece over ‘barbaric’ treatment of Ottoman legacy

Omer Celik, spokesman of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s ruling AK Party, on Wednesday condemned Greece over its “barbaric” treatment of the cultural legacy of the Ottoman Empire over alleged plans by authorities on the island of Rhodes to turn the Mosque of Murat Reis into a conservatory.

“Greek authorities’ systematic policy of erasing the identity of Ottoman Turkish structures disrespects humanity’s shared cultural heritage. They should be ashamed of [following] practices that aim to insult our martyrs,” Celik tweeted. Whereas a large number of Greek Orthodox monuments have been restored and reopened for worship in Turkey, Celik said, “Greece is pursuing a barbaric approach toward shared [cultural] heritage and savagely attacks it.”

There was no comment from the local authorities. Built less than a year after the Ottoman conquest of Rhodes in 1523, the mosque is named after Murat Reis, an Ottoman naval commander who served in Suleyman the Magnificent’s navy and who is buried in a cemetery within the grounds.

In 2020, Turkey’s to convert Istanbul’s Byzantine-era Hagia Sophia cathedral from a museum into a mosque sparked fury from the international community and added to tensions with Greece.