For one more time, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that Hagia Sophia, currently a museum, might be converted into a mosque. As if Turkey had no other important problem to solve…
In an interview with staged Question and Answer on the specific issue, reporters of state TRT TV asked Erdogan, why there should be no free entrance for Turkish citizens to Hagia Sophia.
In order this to be done, Hagia Sophia would have to be converted to a mosque like the Sultanahmet, which people visit without paying a fee, the Turkish president replied.
Free entrance “it’s not impossible… but we would not do it under the name ‘museum’ but ‘Hagia Sophia mosque’.” he said adding “tourists come and go at the Blue Mosque. Do they pay anything? … Well, we will do the same with the Hagia Sophia.”
“It is not an abnormal proposal,” Erdogna said. It is not something impossible, it could be done easily. We could even name it as the Hagia Sophia Mosque instead of a museum so that everybody can visit it without charge.”
“Its status of museum could be stripped off. Actually that status was given by a step taken with the mentality of the [Republican People’s Party] CHP. We can take that step taken by the CHP mentality back,” he added, referring to the regulation adopted by the main opposition party in 1935. CHP is the party of the founder of modern Turkey, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk and currently main opposition party in Turkey.
The former church and mosque Hagia Sophia, now a museum, often sparks tensions between Christians and Muslims over Islamic activities held there including the reading of verses from the Koran or collective prayers.
Turning Hagia Sophia into a mosque is a card Erdogan pulls out every once in a while, before elections like the municipality one on March 31.
What is an interesting coincidence that Erdogan brought up the issue again on the day Greeks celebrate the 25. March, the historic day where Greek freedom fighters rose up against the Ottoman Empire in 1821.
It was just last week, when Erdogan said the status of Hagia Sophia should remain as such.
Erdogan might see himself as a Neo-Ottoman leader, but deep in his heart he remains a cunning camel rider from the deepest part of Anatolia.
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