Turkey’s highest regulatory tribunal(court) announced its decision to revoke Hagia Sophia’s status as a museum, paving the way for the reopening of the 1500-year-old former cathedral as a Masjid.
The State Council, which reviewed the lawsuit brought by a Turkish NGO, overturned the decision of the Cabinet in 1934 and ruled that the UNESCO World Heritage Site for Muslim worship would be reopened.
HISTORY OF HAGIA SOPHIA (AYASOFYA)
Hagia Sophia, in Istanbul, Turkey, is a substantial architectural marvel initially designed as a Christian basilica around 1500 years ago. Hagia Sophia is a long-standing emblem of the metropolitan region, just like the Eiffel Tower in Paris or the Parthenon in Athens. Nevertheless, as impressive as the framework itself is, its position in the past of Istanbul and, for that matter, the world is also important and touches upon topics relating to foreign relations, culture, art and architecture.
After the Ottoman conquest in 1453, the Church was transformed into a mosque before becoming a museum in the 1930s, under the rule of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder of modern Turkey. He said in a televised address to the nation that Hagia Sophia would also be open to non-Muslim visitors.
Due to the Ottoman conquest of Constantinople in 1453, the demolition of Hagia Sophia was prevented. However, Christianity was lost because Sultan Mehmet II ordered the immediate cleaning of the Church and turned it into a mosque. Christian mosaics were painted, and minarets were added, two by architect Sinan. Only two of the four towers fit.
Hagia Sophia (Ayasofya) is in the Old City of Istanbul and has acted as a symbol for both Orthodox Christians and Muslims for decades.
Istanbul straddles the Bosporus Strait, a waterway that acts as a European-Asian geographical boundary. As a result, the Turkish city of approximately 15 million inhabitants is located on both continents.
WHAT IS HAGIA SOPHIA (AYASOFYA)
The Hagia Sophia (Ayasofya in Turkish) was initially established as a basilica for the Orthodox Christian Church of Greece. Nevertheless, their role has changed many times in the centuries since then.
Byzantine Emperor Constantine directed the first Hagia Sophia to be founded in 360 A.D. Around the time of the building of the first cathedral, Istanbul was established as Constantinople, modeled for the founder of Constantine, Constantine I, the first emperor of the Byzantine Empire. In the sovereignty of Ottoman Empire, it was converted into mosque, then in 1930s, it was converted into museum. Now again, it is converted into mosque.
REASONS OF CONVERSION OF HAGIA SOPHIA TO AYASOFYA
The main reason is that Turkey is moving back to its Ottoman empire. The Lausanne Agreement will be concluded on 24 July 2023. The Turkish nations now increasingly recognize their culture, traditions and religious places of worship.
Rajab Tayyab Erdogan is also a very religious leader and has made many religious reforms in his 17th year of rule in the country. So, after the decision of the court to reopen the mosque, he had just ordered the conversion of the Hagia Sophia to the Ayasofya mosque.
Turkey is always trying to become part of the 5 VITO power to represent the Muslims. But he was unable to succeed in his mission. Now, Turkey is just focusing on its mission to regain its strength and not be harassed by any superpower.
Since taking office, Erdogan has been obsessed with his global image and the argument that “the world is bigger than five,” the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council. Erdogan has repeatedly tried to add Turkey to the top five to show the Turks that he has revived the ancient glory of his empire. After failing on this front, he appears to have left the United Nations and is instead trying to rebuild an Islamic empire with him on top. Hagia Sophia’s conversion into a mosque is part of Erdogan’s dream of imperial power in the name of Islam.
The other reason is that the Turkish nation has been waiting for some 89 years to pray in Ayasofya. This decision just made them very pleased and happy. That is why the government has not taken a decision back despite the pressure of the world and the European countries.
WORLD REACTIONS ON CONVERSION OF HAGIA SOPHIA TO AYASOFYA
The last decision of the Turkish government to renovate the majestic Hagia Sophia is the largest cathedral in the world, gave a diet museum or mosque and was an active note for every Christian around the world. These include Pope Francis, who claimed to be “sad” for the move, and the spiritual leader of Eastern Christianity, the ecumenical patriarch Bartholomew, who said he was “sad and shocked.” Contrary to the joy of Turkey’s religious Muslims. The head of the Orthodox Church of Russia said it threatened Christianity.
The United Nations Cultural Organization warned that any alteration to the status of Istanbul’s sixth-century building would need to be reviewed by the World Heritage Committee.
The World Heritage Site was built in the 6th century as the temple of the Greek Orthodox Church by the Byzantine emperor Justinian, before being converted into a mosque under the Ottoman Empire nine centuries later. It was declared a museum in 1934 after the formation of a new democratic Turkish republic in 1923, and it is one of the most visited museums in Turkey.
Unesco also stated that Hagia Sophia is on the World Heritage Sites Museum List, which, as such, has obligations other than legal criteria.
The United Nations’ cultural body warned on Thursday that any change in the status of the sixth-century building in Istanbul might have to be reviewed by its World Heritage Committee.
“Thus, a state must make sure that no modification undermines the outstanding universal value of a site listed on its territory. Any modification must be notified beforehand by the state to Unesco and be reviewed if need be by the World Heritage Committee,”
Unesco reported that it had expressed its concerns in several letters to the Turkish authorities and sent a note to the Turkish Ambassador to the organization.
“We urge Turkish authorities to start a dialogue before any decision is taken that could undermine the universal value of the site”.
Pro-government columnist Abdulkadir Selvi reported on the count announcement in the Hurriyet newspaper:
“This nation has been waiting for 86 years. The court lifted the chain of bans on Hagia Sophia.”
The Turkish nation has just been very pleased with the decision to convert Hagia Sophia to the Ayasofya Mosque. In most Muslim words, Muslims encouraged and appreciated the decision to convert Hagia Sophia to the Ayasofya Mosque. The Pleasure of the Turkish nation was shown on 24 July, when a large number of Turkish Muslims prayed to Jumma in the AyaSofya Mosque.
FUTURE IMPACT OF CONVERSION OF HAGIA SOPHIA TO AYASOFYA
The decision to convert Hagia Sophia to Ayasofya has made it clear to the world that Turkey will no longer be bullied by any interference in the country’s internal decisions like Hagia Sophia’s conversion to Aya Sofia Mosque. There was a great reaction from all over the world, but the Turkish government responded to them by saying that the Turkish nation had been waiting for 89 years to pray in the mosque. That’s why they’ve taken that decision.
The reaction of the European countries shows that, now, Turkey and the European country may never be as close as in the back. The European media are already debating the end of the Lausanne Agreement and predicting Turkey ‘s return to caliphate power. So, they don’t want to rebuild the caliphate sovereignty of Turkey again, and they want to see secularism in Turkey.
Hagia Sophia remains a magnificent structure with a deep cultural overlap of world cultural heritage, eastern and western history, Christianity and Islam in the most profound sense of the term. It should not exclude this sentence; it should not prevent Turks from feeling a strong connection with a monument that has been the pride of their nations for centuries. However, like the damaged Notre-Dame in Paris or the Acropolis of Athens, this should not weaken his profession as an extraordinary place of importance for all humanity.