The head of Turkey’s religious affairs department visited a dervish lodge Wednesday during his tour of Greece’s Western Thrace region.
Mehmet Gormez, who presides over the Diyanet, visited the home of Seyyid Ali Sultan, a prominent 15th century leader of the Bektashi order, with lodge head Mehmet Koc.
"Islamic civilization lost a lot of things by losing these dergahs [lodges] in Anatolia and Rumelia," he said, using an Ottoman-era term for the Balkans. "If we have a problem about perfect human being in recent years and ages, it is because we weakened these dergahs where places teach perfect human being.
"We, Muslims, are members of the same belief as Alevis, Sunnis, Naqshis. We believe in the same God, the same Prophet and the same future life."
Gormez also visited Didymoteicho's 15th century Celebi Sultan mosque, which is being restored after it was closed in 1952.
"Celebi Sultan mosque is one of the most important works of Ottoman heritage," he said.