17 April, 2014 AsiaNews.it Twitter AsiaNews.it Facebook            

Help AsiaNews | About us | P.I.M.E. | | RssNewsletter





mediazioni e arbitrati, risoluzione alternativa delle controversie e servizi di mediazione e arbitrato
e-mail this to a friend printable version


» 08/30/2013 13:19
TURKEY
Persistent rumours suggest Hagia Sophia will be turned into a mosque
by NAT da Polis
Two other churches in Nicaea and Trebizond that served as museums have already been converted into mosques. With Hagia Sophia in Constantinople as the symbol of Ottoman conquest, Erdogan's neo-Ottoman plans need such a symbol to cover up Turkey's economic and social crises. For Bartholomew I, Hagia Sophia could only reopen to worship as a Christian church.

Istanbul (AsiaNews) - Increasingly, rumours are circulating about the future transformation of the Cathedral of Saint Sophia into a mosque. This is worrisome because two other temples, also dedicated to Saint Sophia, were recently transformed from museums into mosques. The two churches in question are Hagia Sophia in Nicaea (Iznik), where the first ecumenical council was held, and Hagia Sophia in Trebizond (Trabzon).

For the record, with the fall of Constantinople (1453), all of the city's churches were converted into mosques, but with the advent of the Turkish Republic in 1923, the most important monuments were turned into museums.

Skylife, the free magazine handed out on the planes of Turkish Airlines, Turkey's national carrier, gives further credence to the rumours about the Hagia Sophia mosque.

As an important platform to showcase the AKP government's success to the world, the magazine recently published a long article in English and Turkish to get people accustomed to an already in its planning phase.

On the cover, the aim of this idea is clearly spelled out, with an image of the Cathedral of Saint Sophia described as the 'Mosque of the Sultans'.

The article emphasises the transformation of the cathedral into a mosque (in 1453) and its subsequent history. The long history of the church before the fall of Constantinople is largely ignored.

By carefully reading the article, one gets the idea that the main cathedral of Orthodox Christianity is the highest symbol of Constantinople's conquest by the Ottomans and a kind of reference point for the sultans. The article seeks to show that Sophia reached its peak, glory and splendour only after the conquest of Constantinople in 1453.

In the same article, Prof Semavi Eyice notes that Hagia Sophia's survival was due to Sinan, a 16th century Christian architect who converted to Islam under the Ottomans' janissary policy.

For his part, Prof Ahmet Akgunduz points out that Sophia is the living memory of Mehmet the Conqueror, and therefore must be restored as soon as possible to "its" spirituality, that of a mosque.

From a certain point of view, these rumours and views are not surprising, given how things have evolved in Turkey under the AKP party and Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

It is generally agreed that an attempt is being made to polarise Turkish society, extolling the Ottoman past and traditions, to cover up the crisis that is beginning to be felt in this part of the world, characterised by the Turkish lira's fall vis-à-vis the euro and the dollar, the Syria crisis, and Erdogan's interventionist policy after the Gezi Park standoff ahead of next year's election.

Speaking to Turkish newspaper Milliyet on the possible transformation of Hagia Sophia into a mosque, the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I said that if Saint Sophia could reopen as a place of worship, it should be as a Christian church; otherwise it should remain a museum.


e-mail this to a friend printable version

See also
02/27/2014 TURKEY
Erdogan's mad idea for president: turning Hagia Sophia into a mosque
by NAT da Polis
11/11/2011 TURKEY
Erdogan's religious acrobatics: Nicaea council church back to being a mosque
by NAT da Polis
04/07/2009 TURKEY – UNITED STATES
In Turkey Obama turns the page but does not dispel every doubt
by Geries Othman
08/17/2012 TURKEY
Bartholomew I: Do not transform Hagia Sophia in Trabzon into a mosque
by NAT da Polis
03/06/2014 TURKEY
Ecumenical Patriarch says no to Hagia Sophia as a mosque, yes to Christian worship
by NAT da Polis

Editor's choices
SYRIA
I will miss you Fr Frans, you inspired us all, says Syrian Jesuit
by Tony Homsy*A young priest from the Society of Jesus remembers the life and work of Fr Frans van der Lugt, who was killed in Homs after he refused to abandon residents beleaguered by hunger and war. "He gave and continues to give everything for the Church, Syria, and peace. His story and qualities made him an exceptional missionary and witness to the Gospel." Reprinted courtesy of 'The Jesuit Post'.
FRANCE - IRAQ
Chaldean Patriarch on the uncertain future of eastern Christians, a bridge between the West and Islam
by Mar Louis Raphael I SakoThe wars in Iraq, Libya and Afghanistan have made things worse for their peoples, especially minorities. As Western policies have been a failure, fundamentalism has grown with the Arab Spring losing out to extremism. Muslim authorities have a role in protecting rights and religious freedom. The presence of Christians in the Middle East is crucial for Muslims.
CHINA - EUROPEAN UNION
Xi Jinping returns home full of deals and silence
by Bernardo CervelleraThe Chinese president signed agreements worth tens of billions of Euros in France, Germany, the Netherlands, and Belgium. He also stayed clear of any press conference. At the College of Europe in Bruges, he presented his dream of a new trillion-dollar Silk Road. Yet, he also made it clear that at home, the monopoly of power stays with the Party, squashing any dream for political reform in China. On the Internet, netizens disagree with him.

Dossier
by Giulio Aleni / (a cura di) Gianni Criveller
pp. 176
by Lazzarotto Angelo S.
pp. 528
by Bernardo Cervellera
pp. 240
Copyright © 2003 AsiaNews C.F. 00889190153 All rights reserved. Content on this site is made available for personal, non-commercial use only. You may not reproduce, republish, sell or otherwise distribute the content or any modified or altered versions of it without the express written permission of the editor. Photos on AsiaNews.it are largely taken from the internet and thus considered to be in the public domain. Anyone contrary to their publication need only contact the editorial office which will immediately proceed to remove the photos.