The issue of Hagia Sophia has caused significant controversy in Turkey. The majority is in favour of turning Hagia Sophia into a mosque, but there are also (fewer) people, who are calling for the multicultural nature of the monument to be respected.
Multicultural nature of Hagia Sophia should not be lost
A well-known Turkish journalist and former Director for the newspaper Hürriyet, Ertuğrul Özkök, says in an article that “they have been bragging that Constantinople was a place of many cultures and beliefs” and that he has been openly in favour of preserving the museum’s nature. “In a country, where prayers are recited five times a day in 100,000 mosques, I have always thought that it would be nice if we protected the temple of a different faith as a cultural and sacred monument,” he added.
Patriarch of Armenia: Hagia Sophia to operate both as mosque and church
The Patriarch of Armenia, Sahak Masalian, also proposed that Hagia Sophia have two natures: “Let Hagia Sophia operate as a place of worship. The temple is quite large anyway. They could also give some space to Christians too,” he said.
“We are ready to lime mosaic of Seraphim in Hagia Sophia”
However, some other people with extremist Islamic views seem not to have a peaceful disposition and not to respect multiculturalism either. They are trying to be heard more than others in the media and to draw the attention of public opinion.
A small Islamic party, the Welfare Party, which is the party of Turkey’s late first Islamist leader, Necmettin Erbakan, has suggested that the Turks lime the mosaic of the Seraphim that has been ‘observing’ the visitors all those years from the dome of Hagia Sophia: “We do not have to wait for the decision of the Council of State. We have already got the lime,” said a party official in Constantinople. It is noteworthy that his statement has hit the headlines today in Turkey and that he has even called for the first prayer in Hagia Sophia to be recited by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan!
Hagia Sophia must be protected from earthquake
Furthermore, there are people who call for Hagia Sophia to be protected from the imminent earthquake in Constantinople. Seismologist Naci Görür said that instead of discussing the nature of Hagia Sophia, “it would be wiser to discuss whether the historic monument could survive the coming earthquake.”
Turkish hackers “are taking the guns” for Hagia Sophia
Turkish hackers claimed yesterday that they had hacked the official website of the South Aegean Region, leaving the following message: “We may come unexpectedly one night.”
As they claim on their website, the second cyber-attack in a few days (the first was against the Greek Ministry of Interior) is a response to the statements made by Greece regarding Hagia Sophia and the Eastern Mediterranean. They claim that Greece “needs to be shown its limits” and that “the red line is their limits.”