Museum or Mosque? Turkey debates iconic Hagia Sofia’s status

Istanbul: In its over 1,400-year existence, the majestic domed structure of Hagia Sophia in Istanbul has provided as the Byzantine Empire’s main cathedral, a mosque within the Ottoman Empire & a museum under modern Turkey, enticing millions of tourists every yr.

The Sixth-century apartment is as of now in the center of a heated discussion between nationalist, conservative & religious teams who’re pressing for it to be reconverted back into a mosque & those who believe the UNESCO Globe Heritage website must remain a museum, underscoring Istanbul’s status as a bridge between continents & cultures.

On Thu., Turkey’s Council of State, the nation’s largest authoritative court, starts reviewing a appeal by a crowd dedicated to reverting Hagia Sophia into a mosque.

They’re pressing to annul a 1934 call by this Council of Ministers, commanded by secular Turkey’s creator Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, that changed the historical structure into a museum. A call can come thereafter Thu. (or) in 2 weeks, the state-owned Anadolu Agency recorded.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who leads an Islamic-oriented party, has formerly spoken regarding possibly modifying Hagia Sophia’s status to a mosque however has stated his own govt would wait the Council of State’s call.

Analysts believe that Erdogan a populist, polarising leader who in nearly 2 decades in workplace has often blamed Turkey’s secular elites for the nation’s issues is utilizing the Hagia Sophia discussion to consolidate his own conservative base & to distract attention from Turkey’s significant economic miseries.

This is not just a discussion regarding an apartment, stated Soner Cagaptay, Turkey analyst for the Washington(WA) Institute. Ataturk well-established Hagia Sophia as a museum to underline his own vision of secularizing Turkey. & nearly 100 yrs. thereafter, Erdogan is trying to accomplish the opposite.

(Erdogan) feels the stress of famous help dwindling & thus he wants to utilize problems that he hopes going to remobilise his own right-wing base about nativist, populist, anti-elitist topics, stated Cagaptay, author of the book Erdogan’s Empire.

Constructed under Byzantine Emperor Justinian, Hagia Sophia has been the main seat of the Eastern Orthodox church for centuries, where emperors have been crowned amid ornate marble & mosaic decorations.

4 minarets have been added further to the terracotta-hued structure with cascading domes & the apartment has been changed into an imperial mosque following the 1453 Ottoman conquest of Constantinople the city that is as of now Istanbul.

The apartment opened its doors as a museum in 1935, a yr. after the Council of Ministers’ call.

Islamist teams, although, regard the symbolic structure as a legacy of Ottoman Sultan Mehmet the Conqueror & firmly object to its status as a museum. Huge hordes have came together outdoor Hagia Sophia on the May 31 anniversary of the city’s conquest to pray & insist that it be restored as a place of Muslim worship.

In the last quite a few yrs., Turkey was allowing readings from that Quran inside Hagia Sophia & Erdogan himself has recited prayers there. This yr., he oversaw by video footage conference the recital of the prayer of conquest on the anniversary of the Ottoman conquest.

On Tue., Istanbul-based Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I, discussed the spiritual leader of the globe’s Orthodox Christians, observed that Hagia Sophia had provided as a place of worship for Christians for 900 yrs. & for Muslims for 500 yrs..

As a museum, Hagia Sophia could function as a place & symbol of encounter, dialog & peaceful coexistence of peoples & cultures, mutual know & solidarity between Christianity & Islam, he stated.

Bartholomew added further: the potential conversion of Hagia Sophia into a mosque going to turn millions of Christians around the globe over Islam.

Greece also firmly objects to attempts to alter Hagia Sophia into a mosque, arguing that its designation as a historical monument should be retained.

I hope that President Erdogan doesn’t proceed with something that going to deeply wound Turkey, Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias stated. This monument has endured numerous things & it’ll always repatriate, however Turkey’s image going to take (2) a serious blow.

Turkish media records say the govt has been discussing the possibility of maintaining Hagia Sophia open to tourists even in case it have been changed into a mosque. That status would be similar to Istanbul’s Blue Mosque, that sits right across from Hagia Sophia & functions both as a home of worship & a tourist location.

Hurriyet & different media have recorded that Hagia Sophia can be reconverted into a mosque by a people holiday on Jul 15, when the nation marks the 4th anniversary of the foiling of an attempted coup.

Cagaptay, the analyst stated, the Hagia Sophia problem would likely have a temporary effect in maintaining Erdogan’s base with him. (However) in case he doesn’t deliver economic expansion, I could’t watch him winning elections as he did in the last, Cagaptay stated.

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