Modern-day urinals made of marble have been removed from a 16th century mosque in north-western Turkey because they did not match the historical style of the building. The removal was preceded by an uproar over a male toilet.
The medieval era Coban Mustafa Pasha mosque in Gebze district in the province of Kocaeli, about 117km east of Istanbul, was built by statesman Coban Mustafa of the Ottoman Empire in 1522AD. People had expressed concern that the presence of marble urinals at the heritage structure, which is Mustafa's mausoleum, was a mismatch.
The urinals, installed in the male toilet of the mosque, were removed in early January, the General Directorate of Foundations announced in a statement, according to Hurriyet Daily News. The directorate is a Turkish government body that manages complexes and estates dating back to the 13th-century Ottoman Turkey.
The institution said the urinals were installed after the completion of regular restoration work and that no approval was taken for their installation. It said it had no knowledge of the installation either.
"The restoration of the historical Çoban Mustafa Paşa Mosque complex was made between 2011 and 2014 and the mosque opened to service on 2 January, 2015," it said.
"Possible corrosion on the wall caused by the marble urinals was also addressed and work has begun to restore it," the foundation added.
The directorate has warned the regional government to not encourage any alteration or work at the site without approval from the Cultural and Natural Heritage Conservation Board. As per norms, the board has to clear any work at registered historical sites or complexes such as the mosque.