06/09/2020 Turkey (International Christian Concern) – State-run Turkish newspapers began running stories on June 5th that President Erdoğan recently asked his aides to conduct an in-depth study on the process of converting the Hagia Sophia into a mosque.
Erdoğan reportedly noted that the Hagia Sophia was reopened as a museum by a cabinet decision. Therefore, Erdoğan allegedly stated that the nation should be free to reverse this decision. The president plans to maintain the historic cathedral as a museum, but also open it for Islamic prayers, modeled after the neighboring Blue Mosque.
This development comes on the tail of the 567th anniversary celebration of the Ottoman conquest of Constantinople, which was celebrated with an Islamic prayer at the Hagia Sophia. The church, once the center of eastern Christianity, was converted into a mosque with the conquest. It was later turned into a museum with the creation of modern Turkey. However, Erdoğan has used the conversion of the church back into a mosque as a way to garner political support. This is part of a larger narrative that wrongly views Christianity as a foreign threat to Turkey.
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