Motion to transform Hagia Sophia into a mosque: Conquest of Constantinople a national holiday and the rise of Erdogan
Istanbul ( AsiaNews) - A little-known independent deputy from the Burdur district, Hami Yildirim, has filed a motion in the Turkish parliament to transform the Istanbul Hagia Sophia museum into a mosque. The Hagia Sophia is known to all as an architectural masterpiece, a symbol of united Christendom, built by Emperor Justinian in 537 AD.
The news was broken by Haber Turk
and so far has not been denied. On
the contrary, there are other worrying signs: a few days ago, Prime Minister
Recep Tayyip Erdogan expressed his desire to celebrate an Islamic function in
Santa Sofia on 29 May, the day that commemorates the conquest of Constantinople
by Mehmet II.
The motion of the unknown Yildirim will have to go through a series of stages: approval in parliament, where Erdogan's party, the AKP, holds the majority (325 seats out of 550); publication in the Official Gazette; entry into force following the ratification of the Premier.
It is interesting to note that the resolution is being proposed exactly 80 years after Kemal Ataturk's decision in 1934 that turned the Hagia Sophia into a museum: almost a symbol of change in Turkey, from a secular country to Muslim country. And in fact, the reasons expressed in the motion are historical in nature and centered on the conquest of Constantinople by the Conqueror Mohammed II, who - as Yildirim states in his motion - was the first to pray according to Islamic rituals, after the conquest of the city, May 29, 1453.
This anniversary is becoming
increasingly popular in Turkey, celebrated as a success, even though the
newspaper Sabah notes that the event recalls, "that we are strangers in
According to sources in Istanbul Muslim leaders and personalities from around the world will be invited to celebrations for the transformation of the church into a mosque. According to the same sources, the Hagia Sophia will have a dual role of mosque (for the prayer of nazim and Kurban Bayram and seker) and museum. In short, like the Blue Mosque in Istanbul.
The news, of course, is quite
worrying. Moreover it is indicative of
the general climate and current political situation that exists in Turkey,
which is also by no means reassuring. Erdogan 's arrogance
seems to know no limits. Having
averted damage in the last elections - dogged by the scandals of widespread
corruption which erupted on December 17 last and involved families of AKP
members and that of the Prime Minister - he has now set his sights on the
presidency, ahead of the August elections.
These elections will be by direct universal suffrage. However, Erdogan does not seem to enough votes. Going on the figures from the last vote, he is short by 5% . This is why he finds himself having to appeal to the lowest levels of Turkish society who have always identified being Turkish with Islam.
Another important fact that
strikes the observer is the following: in the history of Turkish political
affairs, it is no coincidence that every time an important motion is tabled, it
is always made by a little-known and independent deputy, to be able to probe
the possible internal
and external reactions to the motion presented.
The "external reactions", are those of the western world in general and the "Christian" world in particular, who are familiar with the geopolitical and strategic importance of Turkey, a veritable hub of gas pipelines from various sources , which have become even more important today in attempts to limit Russian dominance.
To help swallow the bitter pill
of the Hagia Sophia's transformation into a mosque, the AKP government is
preparing to offer the reopening of the Halki Theological School unjustly closed
in 1971 by the Turkish government, a highly acclaimed "trade" by
However, the Ecumenical Patriarchate has always opposed this option. Indeed, the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew has always opposed the transformation of Hagia Sophia into a mosque.
Regarding internal reactions, any comment is now banned in Turkey. In this part of the world silence is a must.