Hagia Sophia: The Museum closes, the mosque is open

According to the Turkish Presidium for religious Affairs (Diyanet) will be on the Friday, about 500 people in prayer to participate. Also in Sultanahmet square,

Hagia Sophia: The Museum closes, the mosque is open

According to the Turkish Presidium for religious Affairs (Diyanet) will be on the Friday, about 500 people in prayer to participate. Also in Sultanahmet square, at the foot of the Hagia Sofia, thousands of visitors are expected, according to Turkish media has 17,000 police officers will provide the reports in front of the mosque for safety. During the ceremony, Christian figures and paintings within the house of God should be hidden.

just two weeks ago, the Turkish government received permission to convert the Hagia Sophia into a mosque. The Supreme administrative court of Turkey had 10. July decided that the Church should be converted into a mosque.

under the dome

The monumental building and architectural masterpiece in 6. Century was built upon Christ by the Byzantine Emperor Justinian, was always subject to the politics of symbolism. When the Ottomans Constantinople in 1453, conquered, transformed by Sultan Mehmed II, the Church into a mosque.

Also the founder of the Turkish Republic, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, used the house of God, for an act of great symbolic significance: In 1935, he made the Hagia Sophia a Museum. The modern Turkey is a secular country, was the message of that time.

Now the Turkish President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the symbolic power of the world cultural heritage uses. For many of his nationalist-Islamist-minded voters, the Hagia Sophia stands for the conquest of Christian Constantinople by the Ottomans, and for the Superiority of the Islamic world.

"by the sword

captured" Accompanied the ACP Initiative of nationalist rhetoric was. "The Hagia Sophia is our geographical possession. Who has conquered with the sword, has also the property rights," grumbled about the Deputy AKP Chairman Numan Kurtulmus. "The Hagia Sophia is part of our sovereignty."

The government party gave prior to the decision victory: The 567. Anniversary of the conquest of Constantinople they had an Imam, some of the Koranic Suras in the Hagia Sophia to talk. The Turkish Public was then speculated about whether the decision had already been made and are, therefore, already the first preparations were made.

criticism of the Orthodox Church

The attempt to crack new trenches. Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople, the head of the Orthodox Church, had spoken out strongly against the conversion of Hagia Sophia into a mosque.

The Hagia is one of the most important monuments of human civilization and does not belong only to their immediate owners, but to "all mankind," the Patriarch at a Church service in Istanbul.

Also, Nikolas Uzunoğlu, the Chairman of the Federation of Greek-born Turks (IREF), said the DW before the court decision that he think it is wrong that the Hagia going to Sophia for a political bone of contention. The building standing for the peace between religions and civilizations.

calls for help to the Pope

the Russian Orthodox Church has criticized the conversion is sharp. "The Worries of millions of Christians were not heard," said Vladimir Legoida from the Moscow Patriarchate of the Agency Interfax in Moscow. "The court decision shows that all claims were ignored after a restraint."

Greece's President Katerina Sakellaropoulou asked Pope Francis to help in the dispute over the Hagia Sophia to its international influence. The Turkish government should revise its decision and the Status of the building as a cultural monument restore, said Sakellaropoulou according to Greek media, in a conversation with Francis at the beginning of the week.

Pope Francis had already said on Sunday after the decision on the conversion of the Hagia Sophia on the Saint Peter's square, he found a "great pain" when he think of all the landmarks in Istanbul.

A building, two religions

Also in the academic world, you had expressed concern about the possible conversion of the Museum. "The building has been used since 1500 years, two world religions, its architecture had to be fundamentally changed," said the historian Edhem Eldem from Istanbul's Bogazici University.

"Of this kind of buildings, there are only a handful around the world. And you have to protect." The Hagia Sophia stand for a common, universal heritage of Mankind. "We want to foreclose this heritage and hide or do not prefer the world to present?", ask Eldem.

President Erdogan seems to want to this heritage, specifically political use. The Name of the preacher for the inauguration on Friday is a political character: Diyanet President Ali Erbas is known for its conservative interpretation of Islam.

The top Islamic authority in Turkey was only in April of this year, after a sermon on the occasion of the fasting month of Ramadan fierce criticism. The reason: Erbas back led to the outbreak of the Coronavirus on homosexuality and celibacy.

author: Pelin Ünker (With agencies), Daniel Derya Bellut, Verena Greb

*The article "Hagia Sophia: The Museum closes, the mosque is open" will be released by Deutsche Welle. Contact with the executives here.

Deutsche Welle
Updated Date: 23 July 2020, 20:26

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