24 January 2018
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  • » 06/24/2017, 12.36


    Erdogan's game: Koran read in Hagia Sofia for first time since Ataturk

    NAT da Polis

    The reading transmitted by state TV. Groups tied to Bulent Arinc, former vice president, and the brotherhood of the Naxbantiya, to which Erdogan belongs, want to reopen the basilica as a mosque.

    Istanbul (AsiaNews) - Turkish President Recep Tayyep Erdogan toying with the Hagia Sofia continue in an attempt to return it to Islamic worship. Hagia Sofia is a historic Christian church built by Justinian and converted into a mosque by Mohammed II in 1453 and converted by Kemal Ataturk to the museum in 1935.

    Following the announcement of his intention to hold prayers within the historic Costantinian basilica made on the eve of the constitutional referendum, now come the facts: yesterday, for the first time an imam proceeded to read the Koran within Hagia Sophia, complete with live State TV coverage.

    These episodes originate in fact 66 years ago, when then Prime Minister Adnan Menderes ruled that  Constantinople's conquest by the Ottomans be celebrated on May 29. Launching the celebrations, memorial plaques were hoisted on various monuments recalling the event, which included a supposed prophecy, announcing the conquest of Constantinople by Mohammed. The city was renamed Istanbul by Kemal Ataturk, founder of Republican Turkey in 1930. One of these plaques dominates the Galata Tower.

    In 1953, to celebrate the 500th anniversary of the conquest, the Turkish authorities established great festivals, which were later forbidden by the 1960 coup.

    In 1990 with the election of the current Turkish President Erdogan as mayor of Istanbul, the commemorations resumed.

     In 2009, in order to enhance the importance of Constantinople's conquest in front of the ancient Byzantine walls, a museum was created, entitled "Panorama 1453". The foundation of this museum was interpreted as a response from the neo-Ottomans to the (secular)kemali culture.

    Since 2013 there have been various initiatives and celebrations to remember the birth of Ottoman Turkey

    Since 2012 every year to May 29, prayers are recited in front of Hagia Sophia. This prayer is an expression of the desire of Islamic organizations to use the Hagia Sophia Museum as a mosque, several times a week.

    At the head of these attempts is former vice president Bulent Arinc, who has recently taken a certain distance from the current president. But also the brotherhood of the Naxbantiya, to which President Erogan belongs, aims at reopening Hagia Sofia as a mosque.

    In the past, Erdogan had rejected claims to of attempts to re-open the Hagia Sofia as the mosque, recalling that the famous Sultan Ahmet mosque, the Blue Mosque, is empty of faithful. But Turkey is familiar with easy u-turns.

    As historian and writer Engin Ardic recalled, "persisting in recalling our achievements only means admitting to being alien to the historical culture of these lands."

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    See also

    07/04/2017 11:39:00 TURKEY-ISLAM
    Erdogan is preparing to pray in the Hagia Sophia next Friday

    The President will pray together with members of his party and the religious leaders in Istanbul. The event falls two days before the referendum, to garner the Muslim vote. Transformation of the ancient Christian basilica into a museum rejected. Erdogan: Kemalism is dead.


    23/06/2016 13:05:00 TURKEY
    Ramadan, the battle for prayer in St. Sophia a sign of Turkey’s Islamisation

    In the month of fasting and prayer every day a Muslim imam reads passages from the Koran in the gardens of the former church, now a museum. Heeding the demands of the lunatic fringe, the government wants to turn the building into a mosque. The clash with the Greek government and the strategic relations between Ankara and Athens on immigration.


    30/05/2016 09:36:00 TURKEY
    Muslims in front of the St. Sophia "mosque" for the conquest of Constantinople and the neo-Ottoman glory of Erdogan

    Prayer in front of the basilica, now a museum, led by a Saudi imam from Mecca. An attempt to collect petition with millions of signatures to force the government to re-open it as a mosque. The celebrations of the conquest of Constantinople began in the 1950s with Adnan Menderes, who was deposed in the 1960s and hanged. Erdogan restored the festival in memory of the conquest to realize his neo-Ottoman dream.

    14/03/2017 10:54:00 TURKEY - EU
    Erdogan’s dream no longer passes through Europe

    Tensions rise after Germany, Holland, Austria, Denmark ban rallies in favor of the referendum by Turkish President. The Dutch ambassador's entry to Ankara blocked. After 50 years of waiting, Turkey does not want to enter Europe. The Ottoman dream and authoritarianism are the only way.


    20/07/2016 17:09:00 TURKEY
    Erdogan purges target military, academics, teachers

    At least 99 generals and admirals, 1577 university deans, 21 thousand teachers, 15 thousand employees of the Ministry of Education have been questioned, arrested, forced to resign. All are suspected of being close to Fethullah Guelen, accused of being the mastermind of the plot.

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