Turkey on Friday condemned the destruction of an Ottoman-era Muslim cemetery in a village in Xanthi, northeastern Greece, which the local authority wants to turn into a football field.
Photos from the area published in local news websites showed a bulldozer clearing the land, as well as parts of broken Ottoman-era tombstones lying on the ground.
“Necessary demarches were realized before Greece regarding this inhuman act, as it turns out to be carried out with the directives of the Mayor of Bulustra (Avdira),” the Turkish Foreign Ministry said in a press release.
“We expect the Greek authorities, who responded positively to our demarches, to show the required sensitivity to finalize the investigation as soon as possible and to bring back the cemetery to its former state.”
The move was also condemned by the Mufti of Xanthi, who said in a statement on March 16, that “such actions are not in line with the good climate that Christians and Muslims have been building in our area for so many years.”
“We will take all necessary steps for the state to intervene to correct the mistake of the local authorities,” he said.
The 17th century cemetery is located in the village of Peteinos, in the municipality of Avdira.