The mosque will be built in Bucharest, as it offers several guarantees for security, sources within the Presidential Administration stated on Thursday.
“We do not rule out the idea of a mosque in Bucharest because it offers several security guarantees. (…) The timing is bad due to the context regarding immigrants and terrorism,” the sources said, as quoted by Agerpres.
The presidential sources recounted that it was in 2004 that the then-prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan asked his Romanian counterpart Adrian Nastase to allot a land for a mosque in Bucharest. Nastase agreed, and asked in return for a piece of land where to build a church in Istanbul, the above-mentioned sources state. “The Romanian Orthodox Church didn’t welcome the idea of having a Romanian church in Istanbul and advanced the idea of erecting a smaller edifice, such as a chapel or a pilgrimage center,” the sources say.
Subsequently, the Turkish authorities gave their go-ahead for a Romanian church to be built and identified six plots of land outside the center of Istanbul where to erect it, but the Romanian authorities have not chosen the site yet.
According to the same sources, former Romanian President Traian Basescu met Erdogan in 2011 and also gave the green light for the Bucharest mosque, while in 2015, the former government led by Victor Ponta, adopted the decision assigning a plot of land near the Romexpo exhibition centre. “Basescu knew very well what taking a commitment on behalf of the state means,” the Presidential Sources state.
Recently, on March 23, on the occasion of President Klaus Iohannis’ visit to Turkey, the two heads of state discussed also the sensitive issue of the mosque in Bucharest and a plot of land to build a Romanian church in Istanbul. The Turkish President said: “During my visit in Bucharest (April 2015) we discussed the issue with Mr. President Iohannis. Currently, our colleagues work to obtain the necessary permits. We have also a concluded project, but we now want to develop it. Turkey is giving all support to the project. We have decided upon several plots of land in Istanbul for a chapel and accommodation for pilgrims. This is what we have decided together with President Iohannis.”
In his turn, the Romania President confirmed: “I can confirm that we have reached the stage of requesting the construction permits.”