the Supreme administrative court of Turkey has decided that the Hagia Sophia may be used in Istanbul in the future as a mosque. Thus, the court annulled the decision of the state's founder, Kemal Ataturk from 1934, the house of worship into a Museum. The Hagia Sophia was the Empire to the fall of Constantinople in 1453, for over 900 years, the main Church of the Byzantine. After the conquest by the Ottomans it was used as a mosque.
Konstantin Nikolakopoulos, a Professor of Orthodox theology at the Ludwig-Maximilians-University in Munich, explains in a DW interview why the Turkish government Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and this ruling was so important.
Deutsche Welle: How do you assess the decision of the Supreme administrative court of Turkey, the way to use the Hagia Sophia as a mosque to free up?
Konstantin Nikolopoulos: The Orthodox Christians are disappointed. Of course we expected such a verdict. Basically, it was a religious question. The decision falls in line with the policy of the provocations, the Turkish President Erdogan followed in the past years.
he was aware that such a conversion of the Hagia Sophia would take all the Christians, especially the Orthodox. Ultimately, it is aimed but against the Western world as a whole. It is a do demonstration. Erdogan wants to not only dominated the Islamic world. He also wants to prove that Turkey is a great power and not afraid of anybody has. Of course, nationalism and fundamentalist Islam are the motives.
in other words - it is a form of symbolic politics.
Sure. It is not a mere dispute with the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople. His mere existence is for decades, Erdogan is a Nuisance. The Patriarchate had to do so much in the past few years.
what is the reaction of the Ecumenical Patriarchate?
Even if the Turkish state are not recognized for what it is, namely, the spiritual leader of the Orthodoxy, endures the Situation with Dignity. Patriarch Bartholomew insists on the historical continuity of Patriarchy and the whereabouts of his office in Istanbul - despite the many voices, the rates again and again to something else.
you Have the impression that from abroad a sufficient pressure on Turkey was exercised to prevent the conversion of Hagia Sophia into a mosque?
in My opinion, not. For instance, there was a Protest from France and from Russia, but he was too late and he was too quiet. And Germany has it avoided a clear Position. UNESCO has published on Thursday a statement calling on Erdogan - I would rather refrain to say "bat" - from this step. It knew, at the latest since the 2. July all know. On the day the Supreme administrative court had announced that the Turkish President can convert with a simple signature from the Hagia Sophia to a mosque.
you Can imagine that the Hagia Sophia used as a mosque?
Yes, I can imagine, even if it is hard for me. In recent years, Muslim religious services have been held there in the smaller frame, as well as on 29. May, on the anniversary of the fall of Constantinople in 1453.
This practice will be continued. I could imagine, however, that UNESCO and a number of countries insist that the Hagia Sophia acts on certain days of the week as a Museum.
Konstantin Nikolakopoulos, a Professor of Biblical theology at the Ludwig-Maximilians-University in Munich, Germany. He is the editor of the magazine "Orthodox Forum".
The Interview was conducted by Panagiotis Kouparanis.
author: Panagiotis Kouparanis
*The contribution of "theology-Professor warns of Erdogan's "politics of provocation"" is published by Deutsche Welle. Contact with the executives here.Deutsche Welle Updated Date: 10 July 2020, 15:27