Turkish group wants to perform Friday prayer in Armenia

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A group of Turkish NGOs have applied to the Foreign Ministry asking permission to perform the Friday prayer at the Blue Mosque of Yerevan in the Armenian capital.

Led by the “Organization for Fighting Against Baseless Armenian Allegations” (ASİMDER), the NGOs released a statement saying they would like to perform Friday prayer on Sept. 5, 2014 in Yerevan.
The Head of ASİMDER, Göksel Gülbey, said the move is “a step toward dialogue and overcoming problems between Turkey and Armenia and we now expect Armenia to make a [friendly] gesture toward us.”

The group made an official application to the Turkish Foreign Ministry on Aug. 16, disregarding the fact that the majority of Muslims in Turkey adhere to the Hanefi Sunni tradition, though the mosque is primarily open to service Shiite Muslims.

“We, as the grandsons of Muslim Turkish families that were forced to migrate from the place formally known as the Erivan Khanate, we would now like to pray in the Blue Mosque in Yerevan,” he said.

“In Turkey, the Armenian community is practicing their religion in a free and secure way. Why can we not practice our religion on those lands, from whence our ancestors were forced to migrate? We grew up with the stories of those lands and now we want to see them and perform prayers there,” Gülbey added.

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