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Hagia Sophia: Erdogan’s Islam is an Islam of conquest

A place to talk about domestic politics in Middle East (Iran, Iraq , Turkey, Syria) Also includes topics about Assyrian, Armenian, Chaldean .

Hagia Sophia: Erdogan’s Islam is an Islam of conquest

PostAuthor: Anthea » Fri Jul 10, 2020 2:32 pm

Hagia Sophia museum to become mosque

A top Turkish court on Friday revoked the Byzantine-era Hagia Sophia's status as a museum, clearing the way for it to be turned back into a mosque, the Anadolu state news agency has reported

The Council of State, which was debating a case brought by a Turkish NGO, on Friday cancelled a 1934 cabinet decision and ruled the 6th century building would be reopened to Muslim worshipping.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had proposed restoring the mosque status of the UNESCO World Heritage site, a focal point of both the Christian Byzantine and Muslim Ottoman empires and now one of the most visited monuments in Turkey.

"It was concluded that the settlement deed allocated it as a mosque and its use outside this character is not possible legally," the Council of State, Turkey's top administrative court, said in a ruling.

"The cabinet decision in 1934 that ended its use as a mosque and defined it as a museum did not comply with laws," it said.

It was not clear if the ruling by the Council of State will go into effect immediately.

Hagia Sophia was first constructed as a cathedral in the Christian Byzantine Empire but was converted into a mosque after the Ottoman conquest of Constantinople in 1453.

In the early days of the modern secular Turkish state under Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, it became a museum in 1935.

In response to the ruling, the Russian Orthodox Church on Friday said the decision could lead to even greater divisions.

The United States, Russia and Greece, along with UNESCO, had expressed concerns ahead of the ruling.

Erdogan earlier this month rejected international criticism as an attack on Turkey's sovereignty.

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/07/ ... 19431.html
Last edited by Anthea on Thu Jul 16, 2020 9:24 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Hagia Sophia: Erdogan’s Islam is an Islam of conquest

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Re: Hagia Sophia to become mosque in Islamic State of Turkey

PostAuthor: Anthea » Tue Jul 14, 2020 5:56 pm

Hagia Sophia:
the end of an era


The bitter fact for Turkey and its citizens is that President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his administration regards itself as endowed with the authority to inflict damage on major cultural landmarks, which have for long been seen as part of global heritage

Recently, one victim was Hasankeyf, a magnificent site at the side of Tigris River, which served as the hub of various ancient civilisations for century after century.

Admired for its archaeological riches, Hasankeyf is no longer there: It has been swallowed by waters, as a result of an Erdoğan megaproject, a hydroelectric dam which he hopes will reduce Turkey's dependency on foreign energy resources.

That Anatolia's immensely rich natural and historic texture must be preserved, cherished with respect for international law and the environment has never been part of the Turkish strongman's agenda.

Then came the second severe blow. This time the target was the Hagia Sophia, one of the world’s greatest cultural landmarks; another witness to the complex and turbulent history of Istanbul.

On Friday, Turkey's top administrative court decided to annul the law by the government of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, dated November 24, 1934, which turned Hagia Sophia from a mosque into a museum.

Immediately after the announcement, Erdoğan issued a decree handing custody of the monument to the Directorate of Religious Affairs (Diyanet), an exclusively Sunni state body, claiming to speak for all the creeds in the country.

After the publication of the decree in the Official Gazette on the same day, the Hagia Sophia is now officially back to its status as a mosque. Its opening date is also filled with symbolism: July 24 is the anniversary of the Lausanne Treaty, the basis of the modern Turkish republic, which both Erdoğan's Islamists and its nationalist supporters increasingly question.

Turkey's Islamists and hard-core nationalists - gathered around Erdoğan and his team - have a lot to cheer for. For Erdoğan and the main current of his political affiliation, ''Milli Görüş'' (National View), Hagia Sophia has always been one of the major symbols in their struggle to abolish Atatürk's heritage, which they often express as a "parenthesis in Turkish history", an era that must be brought to a close.

In this historic context, the reconversion of Hagia Sophia is a big victory, a vengeful step which is nearly impossible to revert.

Erdoğan hopes that his decree will have an impact over the decline in popular support for his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP). He will want to be hailed as the "second conqueror of Istanbul, after Sultan Fatih Mehmet II", by adding Hagia Sophia to his Islamist dream of expansion, nearly completing his portfolio already filled with religious elements to be used in politics. Whether or not the Hagia Sophia issue will help him survive politically is an open question.

While Islamists are in a celebratory mood, the sanguine attitude among Turkey's secular politicians has been remarkable. The main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), whose signature to turn the Hagia Sophia into a museum in 1934 is part of the archives, meekly submitted to Erdoğan’s plans.

Some of its prominent members even actively supported the decision, declaring that they hope to pray when Hagia Sophia opens as a mosque. The fact of the matter is that Hagia Sophia has had an annex that allowed people to pray since 1991.

This speaks for the immense wave of populism - mixed with nationalism - that has swept over Turkey's political class.

Another interesting point is the widespread silence of the old foes of Erdoğan - ex-generals, secular bureaucrats, former politicians of the centre-right - some of whom had been "victims" of the Ergenekon and Sledgehammer trials.

Their bitter struggle with Erdoğan, they have long claimed, was based on the the defence of secularism in Turkey. Now that major parts of this nationalist segment after the 2016 attempted coup lined up behind the autocrat of Turkey, the question arises: If the issue was not to defend Atatürk's heritage, why did they not just seek to rule together from the very outset, when the AKP took over in 2002?

Some at home and abroad may seek to downplay the significance of the historic decision on Hagia Sophia. They should not.

Its significance has much less to do with whether the move will help cement the alliance between the AKP and the far-right Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) than the huge damage it has delivered to Turkey's image and its worrisome path towards a pure Islamic republic. Its reverberations will be long term, and arguably irreparable.

It would be a stretch, though, to declare the decision as the end of Turkish secularism. Turkey has never been a truly secular republic. The very presence of the Diyanet, a product of Turkey's founders, is proof that it has always been a problematic concept. This Sunni body is the employer of tens of thousands of imams, who are on the payroll of the state. A single select religion - a sect - has always been the dominant official force over the society.

The real damage is to the multi-cultural, multi-religious texture of Turkey, where symbols such as the Hagia Sophia still remained as a glue that kept Turkey seen as part of modern civilisation.

A deadly blow has been delivered to the heart of that image. It is clear that the current alliance ruling Turkey under the banner of a "Turco-Islamic Synthesis" is determined to drive a wedge between the country and the rest of the civilised world by being suicidal over dealing with its very history by waging war against its own Kurds and by alienating further the Christian and Jewish minorities in the country.

Along with the signals that expose cultural decay, the rise of nationalism, and fatigue over co-existence within society, the case of the Hagia Sophia tells us that an era is over, and that the Islamists have nearly won their historic battle to conquer Turkey.

https://ahvalnews.com/hagia-sophia/hagia-sophia-end-era
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Re: Hagia Sophia: Erdogan turns Turkey into Islamic State

PostAuthor: Anthea » Wed Jul 15, 2020 10:28 pm

Russia warns Turkey
over Hagia Sophia move


Russian officials and the Orthodox church on Monday urged caution over calls in Turkey to alter the status of the Hagia Sophia, the historic former cathedral in Istanbul

Turkey's top court is debating whether one of the architectural wonders of the world can be redesignated as a mosque, a move that could inflame tensions with the West and the Christian community.

A ruling expected in the coming days on the site, which is currently a museum.

The head of Russia's Orthodox Church Patriarch Kirill said he was "deeply concerned" by the moves, describing Hagia Sophia as "one of the greatest monuments of Christian culture".

"A threat to Hagia Sophia is a threat to the whole of Christian civilisation, and therefore to our spirituality and history," the Orthodox church leader said in a statement.

"To this day, for every Russian Orthodox person, Hagia Sophia is a great Christian shrine," he said, urging the Turkish government to be cautious.

He said that altering the current neutral status of the historic building would cause "deep pain" among the Russian people.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the future of the historic site was a domestic Turkish issue, but added that he hoped Hagia Sophia's status as a World Heritage Site would be "taken into account".

He said the former cathedral was a "world masterpiece" that has "sacred value" for Russians.

Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Vershinin told reporters Russia hopes "the global significance of the object will be taken into account".

Hagia Sophia was first constructed as a cathedral in the Christian Byzantine Empire in the sixth century but was converted into a mosque after the Ottoman conquest of Constantinople in 1453

Transforming it into a museum was a key reform of the post-Ottoman authorities under the modern republic's founder Mustafa Kemal Ataturk.

But calls for it to serve again as a mosque have sparked anger among Christians and tensions between historic foes and uneasy NATO allies Turkey and Greece.

https://www.rudaw.net/english/middleeas ... y/06072020
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Re: Hagia Sophia: Erdogan turns Turkey into Islamic State

PostAuthor: Anthea » Thu Jul 16, 2020 9:23 pm

Erdogan’s Islam is an Islam of conquest

By general consensus, it is the most important Byzantine structure and one of the world’s great monuments

After the city was captured by the Ottomans, in 1453, Constantinople became Istanbul and Hagia Sofia a mosque, Ayasofya. In 1935, under Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, it was turned into a museum.

But earlier this week a Turkish court annulled the site’s museum status, saying its use as anything other than a mosque was “not possible legally.”

The statement added: "While, Pope Francis confined himself to a few words on the issue: “My thoughts go to Istanbul. I think of Santa Sophia and I am very pained.” President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the first Muslim prayers would be held in Hagia Sophia on July 24.

Hagia Sophia is hardly the first historic religious site to fall afoul of Erdogan’s discriminative actions. Since 2015, 800 buildings in the ancient district of Sur in the heart of the Kurdish city of Diyarbakir were razed. The damage became irreversible when the rubble was bulldozed and dumped in the nearby Tigris River."

People are reminded that "the flooding of the Hasankeyf is another example of Turkey’s barbaric actions against Kurdish populated areas. Hasankeyf was an ancient town and district located along the Tigris River in the Batman Province in southeastern Turkey. In 1981, Turkey declared it a natural conservation area.

Despite local and international objections, the city and its archaeological sites have been flooded due to the completion of the Ilısu Dam. On 19 February 2020, the water level reached up to 479.30m elevation and rising. When water level rises above 483m Hasankeyf would be completely under water."

Indeed, by 1 April, water levels reached up to the elevation of 498.2m. Almost all of old city is under the water. The scheme will mean the flooding of 199 settlements in the region, thousands of human-made caves and hundreds of historical and religious sites.

Also, close to 80,000 people have been displaced. Hasankeyf has been part of many different cultures in its long history, including ancient Mesopotamia, Byzantium and Arab empires, in fact some historical experts claim that the settlement predates all these civilisations.

The list of monuments removed or destroyed are long and includes a mural to a dead Kurdish politician, stone reliefs depicting scenes from the historic Kurdish Marwanid kingdom, and plaques bearing the names of Kurdish children who were shot by security forces during the conflict.

Further, when a statue celebrating the 17th-century Kurdish writer Ahmedi Khani was destroyed in the city of Dogubeyazıt the state administrator claimed the destruction took place during road maintenance works, which in reality it is far from the truth. It is in fact a strategically plan to wipe the history of Kurds in the region.

The destruction and annihilation of historic sites is evidence of Erogan’s extremist Islamic ideology, which in 1997 earned him a ten-month prison sentence for incitement to hate. Since coming to power, Erdogan has attempted to smoother his religious electorate. Erdogan is attempting to honour the decision of Ottoman Sultan Mehmet II who prayed in the Hagia Sophia at the take of Constantinople in 1453.

Erdogan’s Islam is an Islam of conquest. In Turkey, he aims to create a religious state and in neighbouring countries he sends his army to conquest."

Therefore, according to the KNK, "Erdogan, changing Hagia Sophia’s status appears to be a move to appeal to his base and assert his political brand — a strident nationalism inflected by his religiosity that anchors itself in a decades-old ideological struggle with more secular Turks.

As a museum, the Hagia Sophia symbolized the idea of there being common artistic and cultural values that transcended religion to unite humanity. While, its conversion into a mosque is an all too appropriate symbol for the rise of right-wing nationalism and religious chauvinism around the world today.

The stones, pillars and mosaics of Hagia Sophia embody the complexity of Turkish and European history, of the Christian and Islamic traditions. Its very existence is a rebuke to Erdogan’s attempt to cleanse history of that complexity, and to conjure a singular, mythical past."
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