As the West is hurrying up to entrench even more neo-liberal canons into its systems of governance and social norms, the government of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is pushing to turn iconic Hagia Sophia (former Greek Orthodox Christian patriarchal cathedral, later an Ottoman imperial mosque and now a museum) into a mosque.
On July 2, the Council of State, Turkey’s highest administrative court, completed a hearing on this question. According to the decision of the court which will deliver a written verdict within 15 days, the UNESCO world heritage site will be reopened for worship or will continue to be used as a museum.
This decision will mean the annulment of the 1934 decision by the Council of Ministers that turned it into a museum. The prosecutor on the case emphasized that decision on turing Hagia Sophia back into the mosque was up to the government.
Over the past years, the matter of Hagia Sophia’s status has repeatedly been the source of various speculations of the Erdogan government that uses the question to push further its neo-Ottoman propaganda and strengthen own popularity among the conservative Islamic part of the society.
Now, when Turkey founds itself deep inside Erdogan’s push to become a Sultan of the New Ottoman Empire (by invading Syria and Libya), the factor of Hagia Sophia once again appeared in the center of Turkish propaganda. Taking into account that Erdogan seeks to be a great leader that will be remembered in Turkish history as the person that ‘Made Turkey Great Again’, it’s highly likely that Ankara will opt to really turn the UNESCO world heritage site into the mosque.
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