Greece misuses Ottoman monuments in major blow to cultural heritage

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Ottoman monuments in Greece are being misused in a major blow to the country’s historical heritage and the cultural heritage of its Turkish minority.

In the years following Greek independence, many Ottoman buildings were converted into military prisons, cinemas, provincial offices, hostels and storage units.

Moreover, dozens of mosques were closed to worship, while others were converted to churches. Many buildings abandoned since this time have fallen into ruin.

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Ankara believes the Turkish minority living in Greece’s Western Thrace region continues to face systematic discrimination and obstacles due to their cultural, ethnic and religious identity.

For example, while the Turks living in Komotini (Gümülcine in Turkish) had previously elected their own muftis (Muslim legal experts who have the authority to rule on local family and inheritance matters), the Greek state has started appointing its own mufti in the area under new protocols.

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