The Hagia Sophia, or Church of the Holy Wisdom, was built by the Emperor Justinian in the sixth century. For 1000 years, it was the largest Christian cathedral in the world and the emblem of Byzantium. After the empire fell in 1453, the Ottomans converted the church into a mosque. About 500 years after that, the secular Kemalist government made it a museum. And so it has remained.
As I heard for the first time the news today that the Hagia Sophia shall become again a Muslim place of worship I was not surprised. Given the support to Arab terrorists in Syria by giving them free access from Turkey into Syria, then the recent political changes it really did not come as a surprise. Its another show-off by the New Ottomans.
And so the story goes: Turkey's ruling party, the Islamist AKP is beating the drums for the upcoming elections and last month in Istanbul, Turkey's Deputy Prime Minister, Bulent Arinc, was talking about even more conversions of "museum churches", one in Trabzon and one in Iznik. When are they calling for the new caliphate? For the few Orthodox Christians in Turkey this is plainly an act of cultural aggression.
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