One of the top officials of the women’s wing of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), has been trying to take over control of a centuries-old madrasa* in Turkey’s Kurdish-majority district of Cizre (Cizîr), reported Mezopotamya News Agency (MA) on Saturday.
According to a special report by Dilgeç Ruvanas of MA, Hatice Atan, also known as the ‘god daughter’ of the Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, has been engaged in efforts to allocate the historical Madrasa Sor, or the Red Madrasa, which estimatedly dates back to the 14th century, for one of the foundations she’s in charge of.
Alonside her office at the AKP’s district headquarters, Atan also has offices at the Bisheng Health Centre, and at the municipal offices located within the quarters of the ancient Castle of Cizre (Kela Cizîrê).
The operations at the health centre was previously ceased by the trustee who was appointed by the Turkish interior ministry in the place of the elected mayor. The Castle of Cizre was allocated to the use of a Turkish army batallion till 2010 before it was partially restored in 2012.
Atan was reportedly granted the powers of the district’s trustee earlier in 2016, and is currently regarded in the public eye as the de facto head of the district municipalities in the province of Şırnak (Sirnex), the elected mayors of which were previously replaced by state-appointed trustees.
According to the MA report, Atan has been lobbying to allocate Madrasa Sor for the offices and various activities of a Hayrat Humanitarian Aid Association (Hayrat Association), which was granted permission to collect donations without any state supervision in 2016; a permission granted only to a restricted number of assocations.
The Hayrat Association is reportedly tasked with carrying out Turkish education ministry’s operations in the occupied Syrian city of Afrin; a large Kurdish-majority city where Turkey’s occupation forces have been involved in operations of demographic and cultural assimilation since March 2018.
The Hayrat Association is also know for its aid campaign in 2020 when it oversaw sending off trucks load of various equipment and material to jihadist stronghold Idlib in Syria.
Madrasa Sor was built by one of the branches of the Kurdish Azizan Principality -also known as the Botan Principality- that ruled between the 10th and 16th centuries.
The madrasa is named after the red bricks covering the entire structure. It contains the grave of the famous 17th century Kurdish poet Melayê Cizîrî alongside the graves of the family members of the architect who designed the castle and supervised its construction.
* College for Islamic instruction