‘Kurds Mosque’ changed as ‘Turks Mosque’ after ‘restoration’

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The name of a 17th century mosque in south central Turkey was changed from “Kurds Mosque’’ to “Turks Mosque’’ as part of restoration efforts, the Tourism Ministry said on Sunday.

 Located in central Kilis province, the “Kurds Mosque’’ was constructed in the 1800s by a local Kurdish landowner, Artigercek news site reported.The mosque underwent restoration in 2018 on the orders of Turkey’s Foundations General Directorate, with a name label attached to the structure reading,“Turks Mosque’’ alongside its original label.

The original label was eventually dropped and the mosque became “Turks Mosque,’’ in a move that was met with criticism in the region, where Kurds form a sizable community.

The governor’s office of Hatay province – which Kilis was previously a part of – has previously gone on record to say that the structure had undergone a name change after losing its  “original form.’’ and undergoing “a great deal of repair,’’ Duvar said.

Critics see the removal of Kurdish and Kurdish-linked names from public parks and streets by the Turkish government as part of an effort to destroy the ethnic minority’s identity.

Bilingual Kurdish-Turkish street signs in the southeast Turkish city of Diyarbakır were removed and replaced with monolingual signs in Turkish by government-appointed local administrations ahead of the 2019 local elections.

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