Thursday, January 31, 2013
The Turkish Parliament Discusses Turning Hagia Sophia into a Mosque
Since 1935, since the national Turkish government of Kemal Ataturk, the church was not a mosque, but a museum. It counts today as the most visited museum in the world. In its current form the church, erected in the 6th century is a magnet for people interested in art and culture.
The current petition committee of the Turkish Parliaments took the petition and seeks various organizations and institutions for a statement. Various Islamic organizations, above all from Anatolia, are speaking out for the transformation to a mosque. An Anatolian-Islamic youth organization is driving a campaign for it.
The application had been submitted, according to a decision of Prime Minister Recep Erdogan about another Christian church, called to transform the Hagia Sophia of Nicea again into a mosque, which had also been converted to a mosque after Ottoman conquest under Islamic rule and made a museum again under Attaturk. The Council of Nicea was held in the 1,700 year old Basilica in 787, where the Christians of East and West were united for the last time. From 1331 to 1920 the church had been made into a mosque by the Rum Seljuks. The Deputy Prime Minister of Turkey, Bulent Arinc says that to convert the Nicene Hagia Sophia into a mosque: "In this act we have recovered the recognition of our ancestors. Hagia Sophia of Iznik was booty of our conquest and as such we have a right to it. A church can be converted into a mosque".
Bulent Arinc was also Erdogan's henchman, in the summer of 2012 in Trabzon, where another famous church of the same name on the Black Sea was again converted into a mosque, having previously suffered the same fate as the other two basilicas which were transformed into museums. The Hagia Sophia of Trebizond, whose model was the famous Constantinople, was built in its present form in the 13th century. It served as the last of the three churches under Turkish dominance. 1511 led to its profanation and transformation into a mosque. From 1916 the Christians of the Black Sea were victims of an anti-Christian genocide, which at the same time was aimed at the Christian Armenians as against the Georgians and the Greeks.
"The Turkish Government is making one step forwards and a step backwards in its dialog with minorities", commented the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomeus I in 2012 on the difficult situation of Christians in Turkey.
Link to katholisches...