[MGSA-L] Protecting Greece's Ottoman monuments

Saffo Papantonopoulou papas949 at newschool.edu
Tue Dec 3 14:20:34 PST 2013

Thank you for this- really fascinating!

It's interesting to see how the logic of "exchange" still plays out today
vis-a-vis the preservation of monuments in Greece and Turkey. What happens
when the preservation or destruction of former Mosques in Greece and former
Churches in Turkey get played against each other? What sort of undergirding
logic are both states— Greece and Turkey— despite their, on the surface,
antagonistic interests, both agreeing to? That the Greek state is the
legitimate representative of all things Christian in Turkey while the
Turkish state is the legitimate representative of all things Muslim in
Greece. Almost a century later, the logic of the treaty of Lausanne echoes
through these spats.

One thing that gets occluded in these things, is how individual Muslims and
Christians from these places-- both in the past and today-- would feel
about these things, or if they might have interests that diverge from the
state. For example, how do Muslims from Crete feel about this? I know for
sure there are and have been Mikrasiates who feel that the Greek state does
not represent their historical interests. There are also some Cretan
Muslims to this day who think of themselves as Greek, not Turkish. Of
course these views are not homogenous, but neither is there a consensus
around the Greek or Turkish state's right to speak for religious minorities
on either side of the Aegean.

Thanks again for posting!


Saffo Papantonopoulou
MA student in Anthropology
The New School for Social Research
New York, US

On Tue, Dec 3, 2013 at 4:52 PM, June Samaras <june.samaras at gmail.com> wrote:

> http://www.ekathimerini.com/4dcgi/_w_articles_wsite3_1_02/12/2013_530350
>   Tuesday December 3, 2013 Search
> Protecting Greece's Ottoman monuments
> By Iota Sykka
> Greek Culture Ministry officials have mostly shunned recent comments by
> Bulent Arinc, Turkey's deputy prime minister, who called for Istanbul's
> Hagia Sophia, now a museum, to be converted into a mosque.
> Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has in the past said that the
> world-famous monument, designed as a Christian basilica in the 6th century,
> should stay as it is. After all, any plan to modify it would meet with
> opposition from the global scientific community.
> If Arinc's statements have caused some degree of frustration, it is
> because of his purported lecturing to the Greek side: “It is widely known
> that Greece has ignored its Ottoman temples and cultural monuments,” he
> said.
> However, actions speak louder than words. Since the years of the Community
> Support Framework (CSF) up until those of the more recent National
> Strategic Reference Framework (NSRF), Greece's Culture Ministry has planned
> the restoration of at least 33 Ottoman-era monuments across the country, at
> a cost of over 30 million euros.
> A key project is the 4.156-million-euro restoration of the Bayezid (Mehmed
> I) Mosque in Didymoteicho, northern Greece, which has been described as the
> most important Islamic monument on the European continent.
> There is also a mosque on the island of Chios, in the eastern Aegean,
> which has been renovated and now operates as a museum. Works are also under
> way to restore Ottoman monuments on the Dodecanese islands, the Imaret
> Monument in Komotini, which is one of the oldest in Thrace, and the Ottoman
> baths on the island of Lesvos.
> And currently authorities are also carrying out restoration works on the
> Neratze Mosque in Rethymno, Crete – also known as Gazi Hussein Pasha or
> Odeio (conservatory), as the young locals call it – with its impressive
> doorframe and imposing minaret.
> Moreover, Greek authorities have given the green light for restoration
> work on the Ottoman mausoleum (Tourbes) of the Muslim saint Musa Baba in
> Thessaloniki's Terpsithea Square, as well as the Fethiye (Conqueror)
> Mosque, an Ottoman mosque built on the ruins of a Byzantine basilica in
> central Athens. True, it took 15 years, but too this will open to the
> public in the Roman Agora at some point.
> These are not the only projects, but they are enough to show that there is
> a great deal of respect for a civilization and history that is in part
> shared between the two neighboring states.
> --
> June Samaras
> 2020 Old Station Rd
> Streetsville,Ontario
> Canada L5M 2V1
> Tel : 905-542-1877
> E-mail : june.samaras at gmail.com
> _______________________________________________
> List-Info: https://maillists.uci.edu/mailman/listinfo/mgsa-l
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