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Saturday, May 17, 2014

Worldwide outrage for the conversion of Hagia Sophia into a mosque

Worldwide outrage for the conversion of Hagia Sophia into a mosque
In a few days, the 29th of May, is the day that -as announced- the historic Hagia Sophia in Constantinople will be converted into a mosque.
Erdogan chose the anniversary of the Fall of Constantinople to fill the Orthodox Church with Muslims. Will he succeed it?

The reactions for the conversion of Hagia Sophia into a mosque are rising day by day. The Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, during his tour in Germany, was able to rouse the German Bundestag against the Turkish prime minister. Will Erdogan, who is under disapproval from inside Turkey and abroad, change his decision?
USA, Europe and Turkish intellectuals raise their voice against the decision of conversion of Hagia Sophia into a mosque.

The proposal of Turkey
Let us recall what has been proposed in parliament of Turkey.
The bill, according to the Habertürk, has three key articles which are summarized as follows:
1) Hagia Sophia will open its doors as a mosque in Muslim worship.
2) The decision of the conversion of a mosque will come into force immediately after the official publication of the bill.
3) The implementation of the decision will be made by the Ministerial Council.
Moreover, the Turkish claims that even the surroundings of Hagia Sophia with all the buildings, will be under the new Muslim authority.
Wrath of Merkel
The Chancellor described the intention of the Turkish prime minister as inadmissible. In a meeting with the Ecumenical Patriarch in Germany, did not hesitate to express outrage over Erdogan's "idea".
His opposition to the intention of the Turkish Prime Minister expressed the co-chair of the Green Party -who is of Turkish origin-, Cem Ozdemir.
Bartholomew: To stay as a Museum
Hagia Sophia was not built as a mosque, said from Germany, the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew. "Mustafa Kemal converted the Hagia Sophia into a museum. If they now converted it back into a mosque, this is contrary to the wishes of the founder of the Turkish republic. From all respects, Hagia Sophia must stay as a museum," said Mr. Bartholomew in an exclusive interview in DW.

U.S. response
U.S, too, is negative in the plans of the Turkish government to convert Hagia Sophia into a mosque.
Specifically, the American Committee on Religious Freedom (USCIRF) in this year's report had rated Turkey as ''negative'' and they oppose to the opening of Hagia Sophia in the pilgrimage of Muslims (prayer).
Attack to Erdogan from the Turkish media.
The request for conversion of Hagia Sophia into a mosque caused great dismay among the Christian communities. The issue was highlighted by the "Taraf" newspaper titled "Reaction from the U.S. for Hagia Sophia."
On the other hand, the newspaper "Begun" wrote that western world wants to see Hagia Sophia as church and if not, to remain as a museum.
In an article by Ertugrul Ozkiok, the newspaper "Hurriyet" is against of those who have focused on the reopening of the symbol of the Byzantine Empire as a mosque.
"Hagia Sophia is a monument of our country for 90 years. What do you want to further prove: and to whom? Shame, shame on you...", wrote the Hurriyet Daily News.

Greek initiative
An initiative to prevent the convertion of Hagia Sophia into a mosque, started George Koumoutsakos requesting the assistance of local government.
Mr. Koumoutsakos asked the prefects to sign a letter along with the candidates for the regions and the municipalities of the country.
He cites a draft letter to the mayor of Istanbul, pointing out that is an issue of global concern as Hagia Sophia has officially integrated by UNESCO in the monuments of world cultural heritage, since 1985.
Mr. Koumoutsakos invited the mayor of Istanbul to exhaust every effort to prevent such a move.
On the other hand, the Greek foreign ministry believes that this whole debate is unrealistic and that Erdogan would not dare to fulfil it, for fear of strong opposition from the Christian world.



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