ArmInfo. All the recent actions of Turkish President Recep Erdogan regarding the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul are dictated by two reasons. A similar opinion was expressed by ArmInfo Azerbaijani analyst Rauf Mirkadyrov.
On July 10, the Turkish State Council overturned the decision of the Kemal Ataturk government of 1934, which assigned the status of a museum to Hagia Sophia. According to the decree of Recep Erdogan, the cathedral will now become a mosque.
"Firstly, he needs to mobilize and rally his own social base, which as a whole is a conservative nationalist, poorly educated part of the population with low incomes. Until now, Erdogan has managed to achieve this goal by providing this part of the population with socio-economic and political benefits and "As you know, the Turkish economy is in a deep crisis, and not only because of the coronavirus epidemic. Accordingly, Erdogan no longer has the opportunity to ensure the loyalty of his electorate solely by handouts of a socio- economic nature," he said.
It is precisely this impossibility that Mirkadyrov determines the use by Erdogan of a map of contradictions between Christians and Muslims, given the fact that Hagia Sophia is an important symbol for the Christian world, especially for Orthodox and Turkish Muslims. Erdogan's similar move, according to the analyst's estimation, is win-win from the point of view of the internal political struggle. The Turkish president was well aware that the Christian, especially the Orthodox world, would take this decision with hostility and that political points could be gained from this.
Mirkadyrov considers the second point in history around the Islamization of Hagia Sophia to be Erdogan's hatred of everything republican and secular in Turkey, in general, and Ataturk in particular. According to the analyst, Erdogan today is speculating on the historical past of Turkey and on the ideals of neo- Ottomanism. Stressing that Hagia Sophia, which had been converted centuries ago into a mosque, received the status of a museum in 1934 by a strong-willed decision of Ataturk. It is no coincidence that, in his opinion, Erdogan's recent decision to demolish the beautiful Istanbul Ataturk International Airport looks like it.
"At the same time, I want to emphasize that religion, including religious churches, are becoming the object of political speculation everywhere. For example, in Switzerland, where I live, it was forbidden to build mosques with minarets. For the reason that they spoil the architectural appearance of Swiss cities I can give an example from the history of Armenian-Azerbaijani relations. In Armenia, a mosque in Yerevan is called Persian with tenacity worthy of better use. However, a mosque cannot be Persian or Azerbaijani. Mosques are Shiite or Sunni. So, such speculations are about religion and religious feelings today, unfortunately, is a common occurrence throughout the world, "the Azerbaijani analyst summed up.
The construction of the Hagia Sophia was completed in 537. Built by decree of the Byzantine emperor Justinian the First, the cathedral was the largest religious building of Christianity. Hagia Sophia is also known for the fact that it was there that the church split and Orthodoxy began its birth from there - it was there that the Patriarch of Constantinople was renounced from the Roman Church. In 1453, after the capture of Constantinople by the Turks, Sultan Mehmet II ordered to turn the church into a mosque. After almost 600 years, Hagia Sophia again changed its status, becoming a museum on the orders of Ataturk. In 1985, UNESCO included the cathedral in the list of historical cultural monuments.