Kosovo: Turkish 'not banned in Sinan Pasha mosque'

ANKARA - Turkish media reports that Turkish-language sermons have been banned in the Sinan Pasha Mosque in the historic Kosovan city of Prizren are untrue, Turkish Islamic scholar Lutfi Balik has declared.

Baliki's comments on Monday came after rumors began circulating in late August that a ban had been enacted in Sinan Pasha Mosque, a historic Ottoman mosque built in 1615 by Sofi Sinan Pasha, bey of Budim.

Balik told Anadolu Agency: "Turkish sermons have never been prohibited in Sinan Pasha Mosque in Prizren.

"I want to emphasize that the Turkish International Cooperation and Coordination Agency was doing some restoration works in the Sinan Pasha Mosque, and Imam Davut Lezi was assigned to preach both in Turkish and Albanian."

"I want to be precise that the news published by some Turkish media is not true ... those who want to witness the truth can come on Friday, they will notice that we still preach in Turkish"

Kosovo's Ministry of Labor "did not want to leave Lezi jobless, which is why he (Lezi) was appointed as Balik's assistant at the mosque and was assigned to preach in both Albanian and Turkish", he explained.

Balik added: "In the city of Prizren, Sinan Pasha Mosque is the only mosque in which Imams preach in Turkish, other mosques use Albanian and Bosnian language.

"When he was appointed at the Sinan Pasha Mosque, Lezi was given a document stating his duties among which he had to preach two or three times in Albanian, and then after in Turkish."

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