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|ISTANBUL， April 26 (Xinhua) -- Mimar Sinan， a 16th-century architect who designed some of the grand mosques of the Ottoman Empire， said in his last will that he wanted to rest in eternal peace.
Just next to the Suleymaniye Mosque， his most impressive work constructed on one of the seven beautiful hills of Istanbul， Sinan built his own tomb that had a glorious view of the Golden Horn and the Bosphorus Strait.
His peace under the ground lasted until 1935， when historians from the Turkish History Research Council opened his grave to remove his skull to determine his origin.
To their astonishment， Turkish officials discovered during a restoration process in 1940 that Sinan's skull had never been returned.
"The removal of Sinan's skull came at a time of increased racism and Aryanism in Europe that claimed that the Aryan race was a master or a superior race over all，" said Ilyas Topsakal， an academician from Istanbul University.
The Turkish History Research Council， established in 1920 by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk， founder of the Turkish Republic， was operating to prove that Turks were Anatolia's first settlers and even the Christian inhabitants had pure Turkish blood in their veins.
"In that context， the intellectuals and academicians of early Turkish-republic era， who were the strict followers of the Aryan ideology， were very eager to prove that the important prominent Turkish figures like Mimar Sinan， who created world-famous pieces， were from pure Turkish origin，" Topsakal said.
There was also a theory stating that the skulls of people with Turkish origin had a unique size and shape.
For the purpose of verification， historians had opened a total of 4，000 tombs for skulls.
"The historians were sure skulls would be a perfect proof for their theory，" said Topsakal.
The examination finally revealed Sinan's Turkish origin， the Cumhuriyet daily noted in an article published in August 1935.
Until then， it was known that Sinan was born a Christian and then recruited for military service， a common practice among non-Muslim minorities in his time. He was later converted to Islam.
"So with the results of the investigation， the historians came up with the idea of opening and anthropology museum to display the skulls of the artists，" Topsakal noted.
"But later they dropped the idea of displaying the skulls but never put Sinan's skull back to his grave，" he added.
Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu broke the silence on the matter recently by announcing that he would initiate an investigation into the missing skull of the renowned architect.
"We will utilize all our tools， including DNA analysis， to find and return the skull to put an end to this blight to his memory，" the premier said earlier this month during the memorial day of Sinan just outside the Suleymaniye Mosque.
"Sinan amalgamated an entire civilization and left it to us， and we couldn't even protect his body，" Davutoglu remarked.
Topsakal described Davutoglu's promise as very essential in eliminating Turks' concerns.
"The investigation， apart from its racist connotations， was totally contrary to Turkish people's belief about holiness of the tombs of their ancestors，" he said.
In Topsakal's view， removing any part of the body from any tomb has a dramatic effect on the Turkish people.
"It is a shame， it is a sin，" echoed a Turk named Sabahattin Simsek in his comment on the matter.
Simsek， 42， is the owner of a small shop that sells products to pilgrims just next to the tomb of Sinan.
"Mimar Sinan was a wise man and a mastermind and he should have rested in peace in his shrine intact，" he said.
He also criticized what he called an unplanned urbanization that has affected Sinan's tomb.
"Contrary to his will about being buried in a location in Istanbul with a sea view， look around and tell me what you would see，" he said.
From where the tomb lies， it is not possible now to see neither the Golden Horn nor the Bosphorus that traverses the city.
"As opposed to his grandiose fine works， which decorate the entire Istanbul， his shrine and his home next to it have been surrendered by the ugliest examples of the expansion of urbanization，" bemoaned Simsek.
Sinan's home， where he spent his final years， is now used as a warehouse of a coffee house.
"No one has thought so far of transforming his home into a museum as a most efficient method to protect our past，" Topsakal said， while describing Davutoglu's statement to that effect as promising.
"Our order to architects， municipalities， all local governments and especially the environment minister is to ensure no single building that harms the city's harmony will be allowed，" Davutoglu said.
While praising Sinan's works， the premier also noted that "If we had truly learned Sinan's lessons， we would have never erected buildings that harmed the city's nature and historical fiber."
As an civil engineer for Sultans Suleiman the Magnificent， Selim II and Murad III， Sinan created a total of 500 structures， among them mosques， madrasahs， tombs， Turkish baths and bridges.
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