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Bayraktar Mosque in Nicosia to reopen
2003-11-21 14:07:37

Nicosia, Nov 21 (CNA) -- A Turkish Mosque in Nicosia, named ''Mosque of Bayraktar'', restored by the Cypriot government and UNOPS will reopen very soon.

Speaking at a ceremony today near the Mosque to mark its reopening, Interior Minister Andreas Christou stated that the Mosque ''is a symbolic step towards reconstructing a united Cyprus''.

Present at the ceremony were among others Turkish Cypriot religious leader Sheikh Nazim and other Turkish Cypriots that came from the Turkish-occupied areas, as well as Ambassadors from Islamic countries accredited to Cyprus, Nicosia Mayor Michalakis Zambelas and a Greek Cypriot cristian orthodox clergyman.

''In a United Europe there is no place for partition'', the Interior Minister said and thanked all those who contributed to the restoration of the Mosque.

Sheikh Nazim sent a message of reconciliation and peace on the island, divided since 1974 when Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37 per cent of its territory.

The name of the Mosque derives from the Turkish word bayark (flag). According to tradition the first Ottoman flag was raised there, when the city was captured 9 September 1570 by the Ottomans.

The Mosque was built in 1820 during the administration of Abdullah Pasha.

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