Local synagogue in Edirne, Turkey.
(photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
A top Turkish official rejected the wishes of a provincial governor whose anger at Israel led him to call for turning a local synagogue into a museum.
The governor of the northwestern province of Edirne, Dursun Sahin, told reporters that because of the recent Israeli “raid” on al-Aksa mosque in Jerusalem, he ordered the historical Buyuk Synagogue, built in 1907, to be turned into a museum, the Turkish Hurriyet Daily News reported.
“When those bandits blow winds of war inside al-Aksa and slain Muslims, we build in their synagogues,” Sahin said.
“I say this with a huge hatred inside me. We clean their graveyards, send their projects to boards. The synagogue here will be registered only as a museum, and there will be no exhibition inside it.”
However, Foundations Director General Adnan Ertem told Turkey’s Anadolu Agency
on Saturday, “All decision regarding the functions of the buildings owned by the Directorate General of Foundations is taken by the directorate.”
“Our intentions are to keep that building as a house of worship to serve all visitors,” he said.
Ertem added that the building has been undergoing restoration since 2010 at a cost of 3.7 million Turkish Liras (approximately $1.7 million dollars). The restoration of the building is almost finished.
“All visitors should be able to easily pray there, which is the biggest synagogue in Europe – that is our intention” he said, according to the report.
The Jewish community in the country has applied to the governor’s office in order to carry out religious services and weddings at the synagogue.
Aykan Erdemir, from the opposition Republican People’s Party called on the governor to step down, arguing that “hatred and anti-Semitism has grabbed the state.”
“If Sahin will not resign to save the dignity of his post and Turkey’s honor, he should be removed from his post immediately,” he said.