the Supreme administrative court of Turkey (the state Council) completed on Thursday, July 2, hearings on the question of whether there will be the famous symbol of Istanbul – the Hagia Sophia (Hagia Sophia) Museum or converted into a mosque. The verdict will be rendered within 15 days, reports the Daily Sabah. Word – for President Erdogan.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in favor of a return to the Cathedral of Hagia Sophia – the UNESCO world heritage site and unique architectural complex – the status of the mosque.
Not long ago, Erdogan linked the transformation of Hagia Sophia into a mosque with a recognition by the United States of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
“the Hagia Sophia would no longer be called a Museum. Its status will be changed. We call it mosque – said Erdogan. And reminded his foreign critics about their silence in connection with the Jerusalem al-Aqsa mosque: “Those who keep silent when the al-Aqsa mosque is attacked, trampled, Windows broken, can’t tell us what to do with the status of Hagia Sophia.”
Although previously, the same Erdogan talked about the fact that the transformation of the Cathedral into a mosque can lead to serious consequences.
However, an official request to the administrative court of the country has turned a little-known Association, which aim is the cancellation of the decree of the founder of the modern Turkish state Kemal Ataturk. After all, he has transformed the majestic building of the VI century in the Museum.
“We think he (the state Council) will see the Hagia Sophia, being over 86 years in the status of the Museum, hurt the Turkish nation and grieved him, – told reporters after the short hearing with the Villages of Karaman, one of the lawyers representing the Association in this matter.
He also stressed that the Hagia Sophia became the personal property of Sultan Mehmed II the Conqueror, who in 1453 captured Constantinople and turned the 900-year-old Byzantine Church into a mosque, completed around her four minarets.
the Lawyer claims that the Sultan gave it as a gift as Waqf – property transferred by the state or individual for religious or charitable purposes.
Thus, the Cathedral belongs to the Fund, which it manages. Under Turkish law the government has no right to dispose of property assets. Therefore, the decision of the Cabinet of Ministers of 1934 is regarded as illegal. So now the question is at the discretion of the President of Turkey, since the abolition of the status of the Museum is required to reverse the decision of the Cabinet of Ministers.
moreover, the head of the Association and the lawyer of Karaman also claimed that the signature of Ataturk on the decree was invalid.
If the decision to change the status of a Cathedral was accepted, the first mass Muslim prayer at Hagia Sophia may be held already on July 15, the anniversary of the failed coup attempt in 2016.
a kind of “calling card” of Istanbul Hagia Sophia — the Holy Wisdom (Hagia Sophia) was built in the Byzantine Empire. In 1453, after the capture of Constantinople by the Ottoman Turks, the Cathedral was transformed into a mosque, but since 1935, according to the decree of Ataturk, has the status of a Museum. In 1985 a UNESCO world heritage site.
a group of Turkish activists during the many years of fighting for the transformation of Hagia Sophia into a mosque, arguing that this status best reflects the identity of Turkey as a predominantly Muslim country. Moreover, recent population surveys have shown that most Turks support this change.
At the same time, Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople said that the conversion of Hagia Sophia into a mosque would disappoint Christians and “split” East and West.
the future of the Byzantine heritage in Turkey is closely monitoring Greece as it sees itself as a modern successor of the Orthodox Byzantine Empire.
Minister of culture of Greece Lina Mendoni, sent last week a letter of protest to UNESCO, said that the move “fueling ethnic and religious bigotry” is an attempt “to reduce the global radiance of the monument.”
in addition, the politician accused Turkey of using the Cathedral “to satisfy domestic political interests”, arguing that only UNESCO has the right to change the status of Hagia Sophia.
recently on this issue was supported by the United States Secretary of state Mike Pompeo.
“We urge the Turkish government to leave Hagia Sophia as a Museum, as an example of the commitment to respect the religious traditions and historical diversity, which contributed to the Turkish Republic, and to ensure that it remains accessible to all”, – reads the statement of the Secretary of state.
Pompeo stressed that the status of a Museum “has allowed people from all over the world to access this great achievement.”
“the United States is considering changing the status of Hagia Sophia as impairing the heritage of this wonderful building and its unrivalled ability – so rare in the modern world – to serve humanity as a necessary bridge between people of different religious traditions and cultures,” – said an American politician.
Such comments Pompeo has caused reproach to the Ministry of foreign Affairs of Turkey. Representatives of the foreign Ministry of the country said that Hagia Sophia is “an internal matter of the Turkish national sovereignty”, “We are shocked by the statement of the US state Department about the Hagia Sophia, – the official representative the Ministry of foreign Affairs of Turkey Hami Aksoy. – Turkey Defiseet all their cultural values, including the Hagia Sophia, without any discrimination. Hagia Sophia is located on our land, and is the property of Turkey, like all of our cultural values. Of course, everyone is free to Express their opinion. However, no one has the right to talk about our sovereign rights in the style of “We urge, we demand”.