Last year, Turkey agreed to donate a plot of government land to Romanian Turk community to build a new Cathedral in Ankara on the condition that Romanian government allow Turkey to build a mega mosque in Bucharest. Then Romanian prime minister Victor Ponta approved the deal.
Last week, – country’s political party Noua Dreapta filed a lawsuit to cancel the Cathedral-Mosque deal as the new government of prime minister Dacian Ciolos has refused to foot the cost ($3 million) to construct the Cathedral in Ankara. Noua Dreapta, a pro-Israel, anti-Muslim immigration Orthodox Christian extremist organization with less than 1,000 members was established in 2000, and registered as a political party in 2015.
Romanian government donated a plot in Bucharest city worth $4.4 million for the construction of the mosque considered to be second largest mosque in Europe after Istanbul’s Blue Mosque. The construction cost estimated at $3.3 million is pledged by Turkish government.
Tudor Lonescu leader of Noua Dreapta is quoted as saying: “Turkey’s attempt is a symbolic re-conquest of Europe through these mosques.” The party and its friends in country’s Israel lobby groups have organized protests against the construction of the project where people chanted, “Romania is not a Turkish province.”
Victor Ponta said the project was a symbol of Romania’s acceptance of Muslim community. “I’m sorry that in our country there are still irresponsible people playing with so sensitive and important things such as peace, respect, and interfaith solidarity,” Ponta said.
In June 2015, Romanian parliament passed a resolution questioning the Six Million Died Zionist myth as a crime. The country’s president Klaus Iohannis put his stamp of approval the very next day. Klaus Iohannis met Benjamin Netanyahu in March 2016 in Tel Aviv and told the Knesset: “We understand security of Israel is essential and not up for compromise.”
Turkish president Erdogan visited Romania last year and urged the importance of dialogues between Muslim and Christian religious scholars. Klaus Iohannis paid a return visit to Ankara in March this year and assured Erdogan that the mosque project was moving as per schedule.
Currently, Romania is home to 14,000 Jew in the country with total population of 23.5 million. There are over 70,000 Muslims in Romania. Muslim presence in Romania is eight-centuries old including 450 year Ottoman Turk rule (1420-1878).
The Mangalia Mosque, the oldest mosque in Romania, was built in 1575 by Esmahan, daughter of Ottoman sultan Selim II (see photo above).