Turkish governor keeps priest out of VIP section during rally
EDİRNE - Doğan News Agency
Bulgarian Orthodox Priest Alexander Çıkırık (R) and Selimiye Mosque Imam Nadi Ersoy (R) posed together. DHA photoEdirne Gov. Gökhan Sözer yesterday refused to admit Bulgarian Orthodox Priest Alexander Çıkırık into the official VIP section during a rally held in the northwestern province to call attention to the problems facing the historical Selimiye Mosque.
“Let them stay put. Do they seat our muftis and [imams] by their side in Bulgaria?” Sözer reportedly told officials who attempted to lead Çıkırık into the VIP section.
Çıkırık attended the event to lend his support to the rally, alongside Nadi Ersoy, the former imam of the Selimiye Mosque. Çıkırık’s name was called aloud, and officials attempted to bring the two clerics to the VIP section, but Sözer intervened and thwarted the move, according to reports.
“We have gathered here for [the purpose of] fraternity. Such things ought not to be overplayed,” Çıkırık told journalists. Çıkırık and Ersoy then joined the human chain created by participants in the rally behind the VIP section. Political parties, non-governmental organizations, and the Edirne City Council all lent their support to the event.
Around a thousand people gathered in Edirne yesterday to highlight the problems facing the historical Selimiye Mosque and its “külliye” (social complex,) which were included on UNESCO’s World Heritage List in 2011. Built in the mid – 16th century during the reign of Sultan Selim II, the Selimiye Mosque is also regarded as one of the masterpieces of renown Ottoman architect Sinan.