19 April 2023

Minister of Culture and Tourism Mehmet Nuri Ersoy attended the opening ceremony of Sultan Murat Mosque in Skopje

Minister of Culture and Tourism Mehmet Nuri Ersoy inaugurated the Sultan Murat Mosque restored by Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TİKA) in Skopje, the capital of North Macedonia.

Speaking at the opening ceremony held before friday prayers, Ersoy said that their common history and blended cultures have always made these lands special and valuable for them, so they can never ignore hundreds of years of shared experiences and the cultural values they have cultivated together.

"We are always endeavoring to embrace and keep them alive," said Ersoy and continued as follows:

"Today, we are not only inaugurating the Sultan Murat Mosque, a 587-year-old monument, but the artifacts here are also a cultural and fraternal sign of the deep-rooted unity of our peoples and hopefully for the centuries to come when we will live together and stand side by side. It is very, very important to preserve and strengthen this brotherhood. These statements of mine are not just words, on the contrary, behind each word is the reality of the Republic of Türkiye with its actions and deeds realized so far."

Ersoy pointed out that more than a thousand projects of TİKA alone have been realized in North Macedonia in many different fields from education to health, from agriculture to vocational trainings and increasing institutional capacities, and said, "From Skopje to Gostivar, from Dojran to Strumica, from Radovis to Ohrid, from Tetovo to Konce, we can see the works and results of this cooperation in every corner of North Macedonia.

Stating that there is no need to define these works with bureaucratic, political and official lines, Ersoy noted that the necessities of their brotherhood, the foundations of which were laid in their common history, have been done and will be done in the future.

Emphasizing that they have carried out 24 restoration works for cultural monuments in North Macedonia, Ersoy expresses:

"Bitola İshakiye Mosque, Struga Mustafa Kebir Çelebi Mosque, Kalkandelen and Ohrid baths are just a few of them. The construction of house of Ali Rıza Efendi, the father of Gazi Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder of the Republic of Türkiye, in the village of Kodzadzik in North Macedonia, as a museum and the renovation and equipping of the Bitola Military School, where Atatürk was educated, have also taken their place among our important cultural projects. The Skopje Sultan Murad Mosque, which is the occasion of our beautiful unity today, and the tombs of Beyhan Sultan and Dağıstanlı Ali Pasha within the complex, as well as the Clock Tower, have also been subjected to a comprehensive restoration. The fact that we are reopening such a relic of an ancestor, which stands shoulder to shoulder with 6 centuries of history that is embedded in every stone from the minaret to the minbar and mihrab, makes us feel the happiness and peace arising from the payment of the debt of loyalty to these lands."

Minister Ersoy emphasized that these buildings should not only be seen as historical monuments, but each of them is the memory of the people who have lived and are living in these lands.

Ersoy expressed his gratitude to the State and people of North Macedonia for their support during the earthquakes centered in Kahramanmaraş.

"I hope that it will be a sign of the brotherhood of all the people living in North Macedonia"

Kadir Dinç, Vice President of Religious Affairs of Türkiye, said that Ali Erbaş, President of Religious Affairs, could not attend the opening due to his busy schedule and conveyed his greetings.

Dinç said, "As members of the same faith, the same religion, common history and culture, I am happy to be in the friendly and brotherly country of North Macedonia on the occasion of the opening of the Sultan Murat Mosque, which was entrusted to Skopje by Sultan Murat II and restored by TİKA in accordance with the original, as a sign of our brotherhood whose roots go back centuries, and I greet you dear brothers and sisters with my most heartfelt greetings."

Stating that it is very valuable for the cognates and co-religionists to live peacefully in unity and solidarity and to protect their religious and cultural values in North Macedonia as in the Balkans, Dinç said:

"I wish from Almighty Allah that this distinguished work, whose restoration has been completed and opened today, will be a sign of the brotherhood of all the people living in North Macedonia, especially our Muslim brothers and sisters, and that our friendly, sincere and brotherly relations between our countries and institutions, which have existed from the past to the present, will continue to increase in the future, and I greet your delegation with respect and affection."

"Thanks to TİKA, not only North Macedonia but also the Balkans have turned into a beauty again"

Shakir Fetahu, President of the Islamic Union of North Macedonia (Religious Affairs), thanked TİKA officials who carried out the restoration and expressed his pleasure to attend the opening of this mosque, one of the symbols of the golden period of the Ottoman Empire, on a Ramadan and Friday.

Pointing to the importance of the Sultan Murad Mosque, Fetahu said, "Today, thanks to TİKA, not only North Macedonia but also the Balkans have become beautiful again. The Republic of Türkiye, with its institutions and tireless work, has preserved this historic mosque to preserve its enchanting beauty for the future and to convey the words of Allah to the hearts and souls of both believers and people in general."

Fetahu expressed his sincere gratitude to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and said, "(President Erdoğan) is taking the utmost care in raising awareness of Muslims around the world, especially in our country and beyond the Balkans. May Allah help him in his fruitful life."

Fetahu wished the victims of the earthquake in Türkiye to be rewarded with heaven and wished patience to their relatives.

Following the speeches, Mustafa Bodur, Counselor for Religious Affairs at the Embassy of Türkiye in Skopje, offered the opening prayer for the mosque, after which the participants performed the Friday prayer.


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