Ayasofya: Mosque Turning in the midst of an ideological war-museum

Turkey's decision to make the building secular is symbolic - and so is Erdo's support to repel it

Or for 900 years, the Muslim caliphs and sultans took it upon themselves to fulfill the Prophet Mohammed's prophecy that one great conqueror would one day convert to the holy city of Constantinople.

When Ottoman Sultan Mehmed II finally succeeded in breaking down the Byzantine city walls, he immediately went to the largest church in Christendom. As the sunlight shone from the golden mosaic of the Virgin Mary and the smoke of the incense rising in the massive dome of the building, he sat on his knees and prayed.

The building is called Hagia Sophia (Holy Wisdom) in Greek, now called Aosophia in Turkey - a powerful symbolic act by the young conqueror's decision to turn it into a royal mosque, about a hundred years ago, the secular founder of the Republic of Turkey. , Mustafa Kamal Ataturk, to transform the place of worship into a museum. Today, Austria is still the center of a powerful ideological war.

The transformation of the Istanbul crown-making fund into a mosque has been close to the hearts of Turkish nationalists and Islamists for decades. This was opposed by the Greek and Turkish liberals alike, who argued that it would disrespect the history of the country's Christian minority and destroy the secular character of the republic.

Sympathetic to this idea, President Recep Tayyip Erdo-abstained from public debate until last year. Since then, he has fully backed the move in an attempt to divert attention from policy failures and gain public support in his Justice and Development Party (AKP) conservative voter base.

On July 2, the Turkish State Council will finalize the status of AnnaSophia on legal matters. It is expected to rule in favor of a complete restoration of its Muslim heritage.

Even after 18 years in office, such a move would be a bold message from the Turkish leader, who is isolated at home and abroad, but whose country is decisive in search of more neo-Ottoman fate in the West. Away with the alliance.

Last month, when asked to answer Greek anger in a television interview, Erdo took the lead in his rhetorical toolbox, describing the issue as a national sovereignty issue.

“They dared us not to turn Ayesophia into a mosque. Do you rule Turkey, or do we? “He asked.

Claims to change the status of the museum have been brought and failed in the past, but this time there are new legal precedents to suggest that the ruling will favor Erdo.

In 2019, another Byzantine church mosque in Chora, Istanbul, became a mosque, and then the same court ruled that a museum-like Isofia should withdraw its museum status. In Iznik and Trabzon, buildings with similar histories were converted into working mosques in 2011 and 2013, respectively.

There are many indications that Ayesophia is next: the building has been used in recent years to retrieve Quranic invasion verses from Turkish military borders in Syria. Under the AKP government, Istanbul's Victory Day "Victory Day" - the anniversary of Mehmed II's victory over the Byzantines - has become more widespread each year, as religious readings in Ayesophia are rife with loudspeakers in the city.

"The rebuilding of Aesophiya in the mosque is not just a matter of public mobilization, but also of the need to preserve national sovereignty in the face of escalating tensions with Greece in the Eastern Mediterranean, promoting war rhetoric," said Satara, an associate at the Center for Application Turkish Studies at the German Institute.

"The positive judgment also reinforces the conviction in Europe that Turkey is acting unilaterally and does not follow international institutions and institutions."

In the past year, relations between Turkey and Greece have broken up once again on the fate of divided Cyprus, refugee flows, and oil and gas drilling rights in the Mediterranean Sea.

This week, the Greek Ministry of Culture appealed to UNESCO on Turkey's imminent decision, saying that changing Anesophia was a violation of the traditions signed by Ankara regarding the building's international status. Greek resentment is actually meant to provoke positive judgment.

Although the future of Aosophia is yet to be determined, Erdo he reportedly told his advisory council that he planned to hold the first prayer in the building on July 15, when a coup against him failed. It's the anniversary.

As Turkey grows ever bolder on the world stage, Erdo knows the success of the country's future - and its legacy - to win back the tide of war, especially in Libya, and to reclaim Islamic pride in an amoeba.

The president last spoke in the building on May 29, the victory anniversary of Mehmed II, known as Fatih Sultan Mehmet, the "winner" in Turkey.

“We overcame Turkey with our ancestor Fatah,” he said.

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