13 November 2017
A group of people from Turkey’s central Anatolian province of Konya have paid a visit to Jerusalem to help renovate several Ottoman-era artefacts.
A total of 110 people arrived at the site as part of a project organized by the Meram District Municipality of the Turkish city of Konya. The delegation included a grandson of Ottoman Sultan Abdülhamid II.
“As part of the project, our teams started to clean about 60 Ottoman works inside and out. Also, the city’s streets have been cleaned,” Fatma Toru, district mayor of Meram, told reporters last Thursday.
Toru said they organized the visit after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan urged Muslims worldwide to visit the site and show their support for Jerusalem’s Palestinian Muslims.
“Those who are able to should visit Al-Aqsa. Those who cannot visit Al-Aqsa should send aid to our brothers there,” Erdogan said.
Speaking at a press conference prior to the trip, Toru said the delegation would clean ancient Ottoman buildings and repair Ottoman-era mosques in the city. Volunteers will also bring traditional attar produced in country’s rose capital, Isparta, to be used during the cleaning, “a sacred task” according to Toru.
As part of its ongoing activities in support of al-Quds, the Meram District Municipality established a “Jerusalem Academy” where volunteers took classes on the city and its Ottoman legacy, prior to the visit. “We had 400 applicants and picked 20 from among them,” Toru says.
“Jerusalem is honored in Islam and a sacred area. We hope this project will have an impact, and more such projects will be held in Turkey,” the mayor said.
al Quds entered into Ottoman Islamic rule in 1517. The Ottoman Empire redeveloped Jerusalem and its environs and ruled it until 1917