'Türkiye foiled Greek bid to wipe out Ottoman-era Muslim cemetery in Western Thrace'

Western Thrace
Thu, 29 Dec 2022 7:52 GMT
Turkish intervention forced Greek authorities to abandon plan to build football field over cemetery, says Muslim cleric.
'Türkiye foiled Greek bid to wipe out Ottoman-era Muslim cemetery in Western Thrace'

Turkish intervention forced Greek authorities to abandon plan to build football field over cemetery, says Muslim cleric.

Türkiye’s intervention thwarted Greece’s plan to build a football field over an Ottoman-era Muslim cemetery in Western Thrace that was demolished earlier this year, according to an official.

A cemetery belonging to the Turkish minority in Horozlu (Petinos), a village in Western Thrace’s Xanthi region, was destroyed by Greek authorities on March 16.

Municipal authorities of Bulustra (Avdira) “were planning to turn a part of the cemetery into a sports field,” Mustafa Trampa, the mufti (Muslim cleric) of the Turkish minority in the Western Thrace city of Iskece, told Anadolu Agency.

Their plans were foiled when the Turkish Foreign Ministry took up the issue, he said.

Ankara had strongly condemned the move, with the ministry issuing a statement on March 18 condemning the cemetery’s destruction and calling for it to be brought back “to its former state.”

“After Türkiye’s statement, the issue gained international prominence,” said Trampa, adding that officials in Bulustra were forced to “withdraw the decision immediately.”

He criticized Greek authorities for undermining the Turkish minority’s efforts to protect the historical site.

“Greece is doing everything it can to remove all traces of Ottoman history, be it baths, mosques, madrasas, or cemeteries, throughout the country and in Western Thrace,” said Trampa, who became the mufti of Iskece this September.

In its March statement about the Horozlu cemetery, the Turkish Foreign Ministry termed its destruction an “inhuman act.”

“Necessary demarches were realized before Greece regarding this inhuman act, as it turns out to be carried out with the directives of the Mayor of Bulustra (Avdira),” read the statement.

“We expect the Greek authorities, who responded positively to our demarches, to show the required sensitivity to finalize the investigation as soon as possible and to bring back the cemetery to its former state,” it added.

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