Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has made new inflammatory statement regarding Hagia Sophia
Following the reading of the Quran inside Hagia Sophia on the anniversary of the Fall of Constantinople, the Turkish president delivered a speech at the inauguration of a hospital.
He stressed, “When Mohammed entered the city he was welcomed as a saviour. It was as if they were waiting for him. Hagia Sophia, instead of being demolished due to religious hatred, became more beautiful and was offered to Muslims after the Fall. It was a right granted to them. They did not touch any religious monuments, which remained intact in order to respond to our needs,” he added.
“On the contrary, our religious monuments and symbols have disappeared in places, where we were forced to leave a century ago. For example, there is not any mosque in Athens. Everything was demolished. But we did not do so. The greatness of our ancestors reigns supreme through our actions,” he said.
Reactions within Turkey
However, the ridiculous event organised by the Turkish president in Hagia Sophia has provoked reactions within Turkey as well.
In an article entitled “Why was Hagia Sophia not conquered last year?”, Turkish journalist Akif Beki told the opposition newspaper Karar that whenever there is a crisis in the relations between Turkey and the West or when there are internal political problems, the first thing the government does is to announce that it will open Hagia Sophia for Muslim prayer.
Even though the decision is always postponed later on, “the narrative that Hagia Sophia will be converted into a mosque is sticking around for a while in order to disorientate and mislead the public by playing around with symbols,” he says. He is also wondering why Hagia Sophia was not converted into a mosque last year following the statements made by the Turkish president.