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Turkey demolished “Hagia Sophia of Prusa”|BCI GREECE

Cracks began to appear in the building, surprisingly, much less than 10 years since its restoration

The St. George Greek Orthodox Church (Özlüce), which was restored by the Nilüfer Municipality when it was abandoned and transformed into a culture center, but was taken from the municipality as a result of the lawsuit filed by the Regional Directorate of Foundations, was destroyed due to neglect. The historical building, which was neglected for 7 years, was demolished on Wednesday. The St. George Church, which is estimated to have been built in 1896, was converted into a mosque after the exchange of populations between Greece and Turkey in 1923, but was abandoned because it was not used after the Yeni Özlüce Mosque was built. Nilüfer Municipality, which took care of the historical building in 2006, restored it within the scope of the project approved by the Cultural and Natural Heritage Preservation Board and opened it into service as Özlüce Culture House in 2009. Nilüfer Municipality, wishing to pass on the St. Georgios Greek Orthodox Church, known as the “Hagia Sophia of Prusa (Bursa)” since it was used both as a church and a mosque in the past, to future generations, organized various cultural events in the historical building. However, in 2013, as a result of the lawsuit filed by the Regional Directorate of Foundations, it was taken from Nilüfer Municipality and registered with the İnesiye Village Mosque Foundation. The historical building, whose door were locked after it was passed to the foundation, was not preserved for years, and cracks began to appear in the building, surprisingly, less than 10 years since its restoration. Noting the situation to the Regional Directorate of Foundations and drawing attention to the danger of demolition, Nilüfer Municipality attempted in 2016 to take it over in order to renovate it again. However, it was stated by the competent authorities that the building cannot be used for any purpose other than a place of worship and that this place will be built as a mosque. Nilüfer Municipality asked on 2019 that the building be rented to the municipality again. However, it received a refusal. The historical building, left unattended for 7 years, was demolished on Wednesday night. Nilüfer Mayor Turgay Erdem, who went to the destroyed historical building, stated that the historical building was abandoned to its fate. Erdem said: “We restored this place with the experts of the National Palaces and spent about 2 million lira in today’s money. Our aim was to transform and protect the place, that is not used as a mosque, as a cultural center. We did our part to pass on a cultural heritage to future generations. However, the Foundations have taken away the historical structure in a meaningless way. And was left to rot. Nobody has claimed this structure for 7 years. Public money was wasted because of this negligence. Who will account for this? We will file a criminal complaint against those responsible”. Stating that they wanted the building to be reassigned or rented out to the municipality for the purpose of renovation by drawing attention to the cracks in the building and the danger of collapsing, Erdem said, “today, we are again demanding. We have all the details of the building and if necessary, we can restore this structure from scratch. As long as it is allocated to us”, he said. gazete duvar

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