According to index.hu, the Turkish Ambassador Sakir Fakili presented complete minaret-building plans to the local government of Szigetvár. The Republic of Turkey would build a new minaret for the 450th anniversary of the siege (the town was attacked by the Ottoman Empire). Allegedly, the Hungarian government accepted the offer, but it has not been known whether the tower can be built next to the mosque.
The Hungarian government organizes an international meeting in the town to commemorate the 450th anniversary of the siege where the Hungarian captain, Miklos Zrínyi, defended the castle of Szigetvár. The Hungarian, the Turkish, the Croat and possibly the Slovenian presidents will participate as well.
Sultan Suleiman I died during the siege, and a tomb had been found a couple of months ago at the vineyard next to Szigetvár. It is assumed that the turbe (tomb) contains the remnants of the Ottoman ruler, that is why it is important for the Turks, index.hu wrote.
The castle of Szigetvár was put on the list of the National Castle Program in the summer of 2015, but the work has not started yet.
Szigetvár Mayor Péter Vass told index.hu that the renovation was discussed at a late January government meeting. He expects a support worth around one billion forints. The town would use the funds to create the Zrínyi memorial hall and for the renovation of the two longitudinal castle walls and the inner park, for the construction of lighting and the for the reconstruction of the Castle Captain’s cellar.
The Turks, however, are very interested in the anniversary. They spent a significant amount of money on the archaeological works which resulted in the discovery of the tomb and also led to the first Hungarian settlement founded by the Turks. They wanted to restore the mosque’s original form and rebuild the minaret.
Ambassador Fakili presented Turkey’s plans for the reconstruction. According to him, the minaret would not be a religious building; it would strengthen the touristic function of the castle. He also added that the Turkish tourist groups and the high-level government delegation would be shocked if they saw the mutilated minaret which now looks like a smokestack, index.hu reported.
The website states that it was the Secretary of State for the Prime Minister’s Office, Laszlo L Simon who negotiated with the Turks and that he promised to support the investment orally, but he has not oficially confirmed his promise yet.
Copy editor: bm