Millet's opinion | "What will happen now?"

Western Thrace
Fri, 18 Mar 2022 12:37 GMT
The destruction of the Muslim Turkish cemetery of Rooster in Western Thrace fell like a bomb on the agenda. Bulustra (Avdira) Municipality, which is one of the four municipalities of İskeçe (Xanthi) province, has become the most talked about topic in our...
Millet's opinion | "What will happen now?"

The destruction of the Muslim Turkish cemetery of Rooster in Western Thrace fell like a bomb on the agenda.

Bulustra (Avdira) Municipality, which is one of the four municipalities of İskeçe (Xanthi) province, has become the most talked about topic in our region after it plundered the historical Horozlu (Petinos) cemetery.

Sadly, another Ottoman Turkish cemetery was destroyed in our region. Gravestones that bear witness to the history and the centuries were shattered. There are news about the event in our newspaper. Our hearts were broken by the shattering of the tombstones. This is not the first! Many historical Turkish cemeteries were destroyed in İskeçe and Gümülcine (Komotini). Of course, they cannot be forgotten either.

It is impossible not to feel sad when witnessing such developments. There is no comfort in life. While we were trying to get comfortable after death, unfortunately, we came to the stage of saying there is no rest even to our dead. What a pity! Really pity!

A Jewish monument, which was expected to be built in İskeçe for many years, was erected in the heart of the city square with a magnificent ceremony very soon. Let there be no more rituals, speeches, and their cries of "Is it a new chapter in respect for the dead?" he asked the question. We were pretty hopeful. But before long, we are faced with the fact that a historical Turkish cemetery has been destroyed.

The Mayor of Bulustra, Mr. Giorgos Tsitiridis, says that the 15-decare cemetery was registered with the municipality in the 1980s. Then, as the municipal administration, they reported it to the land registry of the municipality in 2018. Thus, this place is the property of the municipality.

Mr. Tsitiridis, who has sworn to abide by the laws, is here officially violating both the constitution and the law no. 3647/2008, committing a crime according to the law.

The relevant law clearly states that all Muslim cemeteries in Western Thrace are the property of the FOUNDATION. So, Mr. Tsitiridis continues to violate the law by giving his approval to the expropriation made years ago.

All lawyers say that it is a crime to destroy the historical artifacts in the cemetery we mentioned. So Mr. Tsitiridis is committing a crime.

As if that wasn't enough, "What is the need for a 15-decare grave in an area where no people live?" he can say. So he approves the expropriation and destroys the tombstones by disrespecting history on it. It is destroying the graves where our ancestors lie. How would Mr. Tsitiridis feel if an attack similar to a cemetery where his ancestors were buried was carried out? How does it react? We don't know that place and it doesn't really concern us. But everyone needs to know that our hearts are shattered by the shattering of historical tombstones. It should be known that we equate the destruction of the graves of our ancestors with the destruction of the graves of our closest relatives.

Whether it is a foundation committee or not. The fact that cemeteries are foundation property is not proven by the existence of foundation committees. Cemeteries are the property of foundations, and the foundations belong to the members of the Western Thrace Muslim Turkish Minority. No one has the right to touch them.

The opinion and defense of Mr. Tsitiridis towards the Horozlu cemetery is also deplorable… Members of the Western Thrace Turkish Minority make up almost 40 percent of the population of Bulustra Municipality. Mr. Tsitiridis is not someone who comes from elsewhere. He is from İskeçe and is a citizen born and raised in that region. Therefore, it is not possible for the Turkish Minority not to know about these characteristics, autonomy and sensitivities. Moreover, there are both Turkish Minority council members and special advisors elected from their own list. Therefore, it is not possible to misunderstand this issue. Either they are giving him false information (which we do not believe), or he is stuck with the error of "I know, I take decisions, I do what I want" by sprinkling sand in everyone's eyes.

Someone should explain the subject of Muslim cemeteries, foundation properties and sensitivities to Tsitiridis in great detail. He is a teacher, we do not believe that his understanding will be 'sparse'. Therefore, our advice to the members of the minorities around him is that you put your president on the chair and explain all these one by one, correctly. Tell him so that he can correct his big mistake without further insulting or magnifying it.

WHAT WILL HAPPEN NOW!

The most frequently asked question by the late journalist Mehmet Ali Birand: "What will happen now?" Let's list our guesses. Don't get me wrong huh! These are just guesses.

  • Western Thrace will rise.
  • A march will be held.
  • A sit-in protest will be held in the Horozlu cemetery.
  • Friday prayer(s) will be held in the area in the Horozlu cemetery with the participation of thousands of people.
  • The 15-decare land will be fenced off with the aid collected from the Western Thrace Muslim Turks. All broken tombstones will be repaired and replaced.
  • Some of it will be made to meet the burial needs of İskeçe by performing a transplant.
  • Legal action will be initiated against the mayor. He will be punished.
  • All previously plundered Muslim cemeteries will be requested to be returned to their rightful owners.

It's pretty easy to ditch the list! But we're making a point here so we don't make things more difficult. We will continue to follow developments closely. Let's see what will happen! Or as Birand puts it, “What now?”

Look, the appointed “regent of the mufti” and the well-known Secretary General of Religious Affairs, who wanted the "salvation" of the minority, have made statements that they will follow the issue.

There are reports that tombstones "fly" from there. It goes, goes, tombstones go, land goes, cemeteries go, education goes, religious autonomy goes, identity, culture goes.

It goes, it goes, our values that make us who we are, go!

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