Halit Habip Oğlu: “We demand from our country Greece to protect and restore the mosques built in the Ottoman period in Kos as soon as possible since it is a part of its cultural heritage and to respect the freedom of religion of Turkish community living on the island”
Defterdar Haci Ibrahim Efendi Mosque located in the center of Kos island and Gazi Hasan Pasha Mosque in the village of Germe which were damaged as a result of the earthquake in July 2017 in Greece were closed for worship on the grounds of restoration. However, the restoration of the two mosques by the Greek authorities has not yet been completed. Recently, the 34-acre land belonging to the Muslim Turkish Foundation of Kos was sold to a touristic company by the appointed execution board of the foundation on the pretext of providing financial resources for repairing of the mosques on the island. There is currently no mosque open where the Turkish community in Kos can pray.
Halit Habip Oğlu, President of Federation of Western Thrace Turks in Europe (ABTTF) made a statement about the issue and said: “Defterdar Hacı İbrahim Efendi Mosque and Gazi Hasan Pasha Mosque, which used to be open for prayer on the island of Kos, have been closed by the Greek authorities on the grounds that they were damaged in the earthquake in 2017. Even though necessary permits have been obtained from the Greek authorities, the restoration work has not started yet for two years. This raises questions in mind that the restoration has been deliberately delayed. Delaying the restoration violates the freedom of religion of the Turkish community in Kos. On the other hand, under the pretext of maintenance, the immovables belonging to the Muslim Turkish Foundation of Kos are sold by the executive board of the foundation. While Greece takes an active role in conservation of cultural heritage in the world through making an effort globally, on the contrary it does not fulfill its responsibilities and obligations by not preserving the historical monuments within its borders as in the case of mosques in Kos. We demand from our country Greece to protect and restore the mosques built in the Ottoman period in Kos as soon as possible since it is a part of its cultural heritage and to respect the freedom of religion of Turkish community living on the island.”