Mar 29 2018

Government agency “Turkifies” Kurdish mosque

A 17th century mosque in Turkey’s southeast province of Kilis has been renamed after a government directorate took issue with its name – Kurdish Mosque.

The mosque is officially registered by that name, which is also on display outside the place of worship, Turkish news site Diken reported. However, the Regional Directorate of Foundations put a new sign over the entrance, reading “Turkish Mosque.”

Kilis lies on the border with Syria, a short distance from Afrin, the Syrian town where Turkey’s military incursion Operation Olive Branch was launched against the predominantly Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG). The military operation has fueled a wave of nationalism in Turkey, where the majority of citizens support its objectives.

Elsewhere in Turkey, many Kurdish-majority areas administered by the pro-Kurdish Democratic Regions Party (DBP) have had their elected mayors expelled and replaced by government-appointed administrations. Institutions and initiatives with clear links to Kurdish and other minority identities have reportedly been repressed under these “trustee” administrations.