The Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TİKA) has rejected claims that the agency helped people and institutions allegedly linked with the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS), according to a statement by the agency.
"Some media outlets have forwarded false claims and information about the agency's international cooperation activities in Kosovo. These claims have intentionally targeted organizations focusing on people's well-being, safety, and building friendly and brotherly environments where people from different nations can live," said Friday's statement. According to the statement, the Turkish aid agency dismissed the claims about Fatih Sultan Mehmet Mosque in Kosovo's capital Pristina, adding that the allegations are baseless and unrealistic.
Turkish daily Taraf claimed that Kosovo police launched an operation against radical Islamic groups, which arrested 30 imams suspected of sending jihadis to fight in Syria and Iraq and shut down 16 associations and foundations on charges of aiding members of ISIS, al-Nusra Front and other al-Qaida-linked organizations. The paper claimed that Sefcet Kranici, the imam of Pristina's Fatih Sultan Mehmet Mosque, was among the arrested imams aiding the members of militant groups in Syria and Iraq.
"The renovation of the Fatih Sultan Mehmet Mosque was carried out within the framework of a development project between Kosovo and Turkey and protocol related to the TİKA Kosovo Program Coordination Office Statute," the statement said.
The statement added that TİKA implemented all of its projects and activities in line with Turkish laws.
"TİKA cannot be held responsible for a religious man who is appointed on Kosovo soil by local authorities and his activities in the country," the statement said. Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmuş also indicated "regrettably, this news is a pack of lies and complete slander," regarding TİKA.