The chief imam of Istanbul's Hagia Sophia has defended the removal of secularism from the Turkish constitution as he commented on President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's recent call for drafting a new charter.
"There wasn't secularism in the constitutions of 1921 and 1924. The state's religion was Islam. The Republic should return to its factory settings," Prof. Mehmet Boynukalın said on Feb. 10 while using the hashtag "There should be Islam in the constitution."
1921 ve 24 anayasalarında devletin dini İslam'dı ve laiklik yoktu.— Mehmet Boynukalın محمد بوينوكالن (@M_Boynukalin) February 10, 2021
Cumhuriyet fabrika ayarlarına dönsün#AnayasadaİslamOlsun
Boynukalın also said that the first three articles of the constitution, which say that Turkey is a democratic and secular state, that cannot be changed should be able to be changed.
"If the authority is at the hands of the people, then they should have the right to change the constitution whenever and however they want," Boynukalın said.
Hagia Sophia was opened for worship on July 24, 2020 after it was declared a mosque by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. The decision received widespread international condemnation due to the doubts about Turkey's will to protect the Christian elements at the site.