US envoy praises restoration of Turkish synagogue after debate
EDİRNE – Anadolu Agency
AA PhotoU.S. consular-general to Istanbul Charles F. Hunter has praised the restorations of a synagogue in neighboring Edirne province, after meeting the governor who hit headlines after suggesting that the structure should be turned into a museum in reaction to Israeli policies on the al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem.
Hunter met with Governor Dursun Ali Şahin on Dec. 9, and the two exchanged books with each other as gifts.
“In my two visits to Edirne, I had the chance to observe the rich historical and cultural heritage of the city. In my first visit, I visited Selimiye. This morning, we had the chance to see the Jewish cemetery and the Büyük Synagogue. I have observed the restoration work at the synagogue in admiration," Hunter said.
The envoy also visited the Sveti Georgi Bulgarian church in the city.
Edirne Governor Şahin caused uproar when he told reporters on Nov. 21 that he had ordered the historical Büyük Synagogue, built in 1907 in the village of Kaleiçi, to be turned into a museum, citing the recent Israeli raid on al-Aqsa in Jerusalem.
However, Foundations Director General Adnan Ertem told Anadolu Agency the next day that all decisions regarding the functions of the buildings owned by the Directorate General of Foundations are made by the directorate itself.
Later, the governor offered an “apology” to the country’s Chief Rabbi, claiming that his proposal “had no connection” to the Turkish Jewish community.