Turkish daily says ancient site in Thessaloniki built 300 years before Mohammed is a mosque

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Turkish pro-government daily Daily Sabah, has published another article targeting Greece with falsities, historical inaccuracies and outright lies.

The Daily Sabah, owned by Ahmet Çalık, a close associate of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, ran a new article with the title "Greece misuses Ottoman monuments in major blow to cultural heritage."

In the article, the outlet claims that Greece is discriminating against its recognised Muslim minority, saying "the Turks living in Komotini had previously elected their own muftis (Muslim legal experts who have the authority to rule on local family and inheritance matters), the Greek state has started appointing its own mufti in the area under new protocols."

An interesting point to criticise Greece about, considering the Turkish government itself also appoints its own muftis. So Daily Sabah is effectively criticising Greece for what Turkey itself does in organising the Muslim community.

"Religion is not the only sphere targeted by the state, according to the Turks of Western Thrace, who say their schools are being shut down, damaging their efforts to protect their identity. Sixty-five Turkish-language schools have been closed down in the past eight years, with the latest closure occurring in the village of Kalamokastro," the article said.

Although it is true that 65 Turkish-language schools have been closed down in the past eight years, the outlet of course does not explain in detail why this is, and rather alludes that it is part of systematic racism by the Greek state.

Unfortunately, between 2009 and 2014, 1,705 schools all across Greece shut down because of austerity measures during the economic crisis. Many more schools after 2014 also shut down because of a lack of funding.

Greece in 2011 began a process of cost saving by merging schools with extremely low numbers of students together.

Highlighting the reality of austerity was omitted by The Daily Sabah.

Continuing the attack, Daily Sabah then says that "The Fethiye Mosque in Athens, built by Mehmet the Conqueror in 1458, is currently being used as an exhibition hall," while forgetting that on the original site of the mosque was a Byzantine Church that was converted into a mosque, then demolished to build the Fethiye Mosque.

The article also mentions how the famous Tzistarakis Mosque in Monastiraki today is a ceramics museum, but not how the Turks built it by destroying and using ancient columns from Hadrian's library that was constructed in 132 AD.

And without nitpicking every other mosque the article mentions, we jump to the most hilarious of all the falsities presented by The Daily Sabah in their ramblings of how many mosques in Greece are falling into disrepair- the feature photo used in the article.

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The Rotunda of Galerius, or as the Daily Sabah mislabels it, the "Sultan Hortac Mosque," was built in the 4th century, nearly 300 years before Mohammed, the founder of Islam.

Rotunda of Galerius was initially built as a mausoleum for Roman Emperor Galerius, but on orders of Emperor Theodosius I it became a church as it laid empty for decades when Galerius was ultimately buried at Felix Romuliana in modern day Serbia instead.

Despite being a Christian temple for 1200 years, it was converted into a mosque in 1590 A.D., during the Ottoman occupation period. It was used as a mosque until 1912 when Thessaloniki was liberated by the Greek Army during the Balkan War.

It is the oldest church in Thessaloniki and laughable that Daily Sabah attempts to portray it as a mosque even though it was built hundreds of years before Mohammed was even born.

The article rambles on about how 150,000 Turks live in Western Thrace, without providing any evidence.

The Daily Sabah says that Greece misinterprets the 1923 Treaty of Lausanne. Part VI Article 2 of the Treaty of Lausanne, as published in English on the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs own website, states: “Moslems established in the region to the east of the frontier line laid down in 1918 by the Treaty of Bucharest shall be considered as Moslem inhabitants of Western Thrace.”

Although a large portion of the 150,000 Muslims in Western Thrace are undoubtedly Turkish-speaking Greek citizens, they also omit that among the 150,000 are Bulgarian Muslims known as Pomaks and Muslim Roma.

The Greek government in 1999 reported that in Western Thrace, 50% of the Muslims are Turkish, 35% are Pomaks and 15% are Roma. Of course The Daily Sabah ignored this fact and continued to repeat the mantra that all 150,000 Muslims in Western Thrace were Turkish, denying the identity of Greek Muslims, Romas and Pomaks to serve Ankara’s agenda against Greece and spread false information.

The Daily Sabah's denial of identity and existence of the Pomaks, Muslim Greeks and Muslim Romas in Western Thrace itself is racist, but they of course would not see it that way.

Turkey is one of the lowest ranked countries for media freedoms in the world, Turks are the second most susceptible people surveyed on the European continent and its surrounds to fake news, Turkey the most journalists jailed in the whole world, and 90% of media is government controlled.

With this in mind, it is little surprise that the Daily Sabah came out with such a vicious attack against Greece full of falsities and outright lies.