Historic mosque falls victim to clashes in Diyarbakır, damaged by fire

The mosque, built between 1516 and 1520, caught fire on Monday morning. Calls to the fire department were made around 10:00 a.m., but firefighters were unable to enter the area for a long time due to security concerns. Calls for firefighters were also made for a few homes in the Sur district, but firefighters were unable to combat the flames.

The same mosque was previously damaged by bullet holes in October due to clashes.

Ongoing fighting between Turkish security forces and militants of the PKK youth wing, the Patriotic Revolutionary Youth Movement (YDG-H), have led to a curfew in six neighborhoods of the Sur district and the central Dagkapı Square, preventing all entry into the blocked off areas.

On Sunday the historic Pasa Hamam and two homes also burned down, with security concerns preventing firefighters from getting to the scene.

Many historic structures in the Sur district have been damaged due to the combat, like the Dort Ayaklı Minare (Four-Legged Minaret), which was hit with bullets on the night of Nov. 25. The famed minaret is a tall tower standing on four columns and serves as the single minaret for the adjacent Seyh Mutahhar Mosque, built in 1500; the minaret is believed to be even older than the mosque.

Last Saturday human rights lawyer Tahir Elci was killed while giving a statement to the press during a demonstration to stop the skirmishes from damaging historic buildings.

“Enough already. Do not make Tahir Elci’s heart bleed even more. He gave his life protecting these monuments,” former president of the Association of Human Rights and Solidarity for Oppressed Peoples (Mazlumder) Omer Faruk Gergerlioglu tweeted.

Republican People’s Party (CHP) Deputy Chairman Mehmet Bekaroglu also stated, “They got rid of Tahir Elci, and now they are trying to eliminate all the valuables that he tried to protect, too.”