Start Europe Erdogan wants to make Hagia Sophia the mosque again

Erdogan wants to make Hagia Sophia the mosque again

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The Hagia Sophia, the famous and imposing dome building in Istanbul, is always in the center of a religious dispute. Islamic organizations repeatedly demand that they make it a mosque again. For many people in Greece, the Hagia Sophia is considered a religious center of orthodoxy. Now, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has announced that he will transform the building back into an Islamic temple of worship.

Since the transformation of the Hagia Sophia is a demand of the Turkish people. „The time had come to take such a measure,“ said Erdogan on Wednesday evening. According to the news agency Anadolu the television station A Haber. Already on Sunday, the president had made similar statements. „Hagia Sophia will no longer be called a museum, it will be taken out of this status and we will call Hagia Sophia a mosque,“ he said.

The Hagia Sophia (Greek: Holy Wisdom) was built by the Byzantine emperor Justinian as a Christian church in 537 and almost a thousand years the largest church in Christendom. After the conquest of the then Constantinople in 1453, the Ottomans converted the church into a mosque. 1923 was followed by the founding of the Republic, and in 1935 the building was under Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the first president of the country, converted into a museum. That was a „big mistake,“ Erdogan said.

Announcement shortly before the local elections

His recent statements may also be related to the local elections on Sunday. In the past, Erdogan had repeatedly indicated before voting that the Hagia Sophia could be explained to the mosque again. In the current election campaign he had made religion a central issue.

So far, demands of Muslims who use Hagia Sophia as an Islamic place of worship have failed. Only in September 2018, the Constitutional Court of Turkey had rejected the corresponding lawsuit of a Turkish association.