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Turkish-Cypriot Muslims Crossed Green Line to Pray

NICOSIA – Hundreds of Turks crossed the Green Line dividing Cyprus to pray at a mosque in the Greek-majority south on July 7.

It was part of a 2014 agreement and saw police escort a convoy of buses to the Halta Sultan Tekke mosque, Agence France Presse reported. The site is worshipped by Muslims as the burial site of the aunt of the Prophet Mohammed.

The visitors held a prayer service marking Eid al-Fitr, the festival that concludes the fasting month of Ramadan.

The mufti of Cyprus, Talip Atalay, negotiated an agreement in 2014 with Archbishop Chrysostomos II, head of the island’s Greek Orthodox church, to allow Turkish pilgrims to pray three times a year at the site.

Yunus, a 21-year-old student from Adana in southern Turkey, said he was delighted to make it to the mosque.

“When I heard that I could come, I was really happy,” he told AFP. “We can all pray together, it’s very important.”

 

Representatives of the Maronite, Armenian, Orthodox and Roman Catholic churches, who have expressed support for the peace process, also took part in the prayers.

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