The Secretary General of Devlet Bahçeli’s Nationalist Action Party (MHP), İsmet Büyükataman, in a statement on Twitter spoke of “going beyond his remit” and of “error” of the Ecumenical Patriarch.
“Since Bartholomew cannot say, ‘Hagia Sophia should be turned into a church,’ instead, he says, ‘Hagia Sophia has been in the service of Christians for 900 years and of Muslims for 500 years,’ so it must remain a museum. Beyond a mathematical error, he makes a significant logical error,” noted the secretary general of the nationalist party, claiming that Hagia Sophia has already been… turkified with the seal of Mehmed the Conqueror in 1453 “and it is an important Turkish-Islamic work of Constantinople which will always belong to the Turkish homeland,” as reported by ethnos.gr.
Commenting on Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew’s statement that “any conversion of the Hagia Sophia into a mosque will turn millions of Christians around the world against Islam,” İsmet Büyükataman said that, on the one hand, this statement goes beyond the remit of a Christian Patriarch and, on the other hand, it can be perceived as a “pre-announcement” of attacks against Muslims.
“His claim that millions of Christians in the world will be saddened is beyond the scope of his silence,” the Turkish official said, advising Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew to feel sorry about the Islamic sites that Greece has specifically destroyed.
“We would advise Bartholomew to express his regret for all these Muslim works that have been destroyed in many parts of the world, especially in Greece. “It warns of planned attacks of the West on Islam and Muslims,” he said, as reported by ethnos.gr.
Mild reaction to the call of Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew by the Turkish press
A poll published today by the pro-government newspaper Yeni Şafak clearly shows the “pressure” environment that has already been created in Turkish public opinion towards justice.
In the poll conducted by Areda Survey, the percentage of Turkish citizens who believe that Hagia Sophia should open as a mosque was 79.4% (compared to 77% a few weeks ago in a similar poll). The percentage of those who said “no” was 20.6%. Asked “how will the operation as a mosque affect the number of visitors and tourists in Hagia Sophia,” 29.5% answered that visits will increase, while 52.9% commented that nothing would change, and 17.6% said that the number of visitors would decrease.
Turkish citizens were also asked “how will Turkey’s relationship with European countries be affected if Hagia Sophia is converted into a mosque.” 63.8% of respondents said that “our relations are not affected because the issue of Hagia Sophia is our internal affair,” while 36.2% believe that “our relations will deteriorate.”