Turkey requests Ethiopia to restore Islamic heritage

Turkey has formally requested to restore Ethiopia’s Islamic heritage, particularly focusing on the historic Al Nejashi Mosque situated in the Tigray region.

The mosque, a symbol of cultural significance, suffered extensive damage during the conflict in northern Ethiopia.

The Ethiopian Heritage Protection Authority has confirmed that Turkey has submitted a formal request to the Ethiopian government for the restoration of this historical Islamic site.

Both the Ethiopian Heritage Protection Authority and the Tigray Region Culture and Tourism Bureau have acknowledged and accepted Turkey’s request to participate in the restoration efforts.

Preparations for the restoration process have commenced, with Turkish heritage experts already on-site to assess the damages and initiate the necessary observations, as stated by Abebaw Ayalew, the Director General of the Heritage Protection Authority.

However, specific details regarding the timeline and budget required for the restoration have not been disclosed by the authority.

The Al-Najashi Mosque fell victim to heavy artillery during the two-year conflict in northern Ethiopia, with the attack occurring in 2020.

Responsibility for the attack remains unclaimed, while reports indicate that Eritrean soldiers looted the mosque and its surrounding properties.

Before the war, the mosque stood as a prominent tourist attraction in Ethiopia, underlining its historical and cultural significance.

The devastating toll of the conflict extends beyond cultural landmarks, with the Ministry of Finance reporting over one million casualties across the Tigray, Amara, and Afar regions, alongside property damages totaling over $28 billion.

The destruction of critical infrastructure, funded by government expenditure and loans, necessitates an estimated $20 billion for rehabilitation efforts.

The conclusion of the two-year conflict between the federal government and TPLF militants was marked by a peace agreement brokered by the African Union in Pretoria, South Africa.

The economic fallout from the conflict is profound, with a third of the population directly affected, resulting in an estimated $6 billion in economic losses, equivalent to 5.5 percent of the country’s GDP.

Moreover, three million citizens have plunged into extreme poverty as a consequence of the war, underscoring the far-reaching socio-economic repercussions.

Despite efforts to restore stability and rebuild affected regions, the persistence of conflict underscores the challenges ahead in achieving lasting peace and reconciliation across Ethiopia.

Despite this, lingering tensions persist, particularly evident in the Amhara region, where renewed hostilities erupted following the federal government’s decision to reorganize regional special forces.

The ongoing confrontations in the Amhara region have prompted the declaration of a six-month state of emergency by the House of People’s Representatives, with internet access restricted since July 2023.

The state of emergency, initially intended to quell escalating violence, has been extended for an additional four months due to continued clashes between government security forces and Fano militants across the region.

By ethionegari@gmail.com

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