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 Monday, July 13 2020 10:45
David Stepanyan

Analyst: Re-Islamization of Hagia Sophia due to Erdogan`s hatred for  Ataturk

Analyst: Re-Islamization of Hagia Sophia due to Erdogan`s hatred for  Ataturk

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.

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