A brawl erupted between deputies of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) over Turkey’s sovereignty, as tensions mount amid the opening of Hagia Sophia to Muslim prayers on the peace treaty's anniversary on July 24.
On that day, the ancient structure held mass Muslim prayers for the first time in decades which featured President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s attendance, leading critics to question whether the date was a reference to the Treaty of Lausanne that ended the conflict between allied European forces and the Ottoman Empire in 1923.Erdoğan recites the Quran at Hagia Sophia
CHP deputy Özgür Özel slammed a refusal to allow the Atatürkist Thought Association (ADD) to visit Mustafa Kemal Atatürk’s tomb, the founder of Turkey's secular republic, and the signatory of the Lausanne Treaty.
"They wanted to pay a visit to Atatürk who showed everyone who Turkey's deed belonged to [in the Treaty of Lausanne,]" Özel said in parliament on July 24, noting that no permission was granted to the non-governmental organization's visit.
AKP deputy Cahit Özkan refuted Özel by saying that the treaty could not be considered "Turkey's deed," and that doing so would "make the existence of this country dependent on the other parties."
"Turkey's deed was paid for with the blood of our martyrs on the battlefield," Özkan said.
However, CHP deputy Özel responded by saying that the analogy didn't belong to him, but were in fact the words of President Erdoğan.
Applause erupted in parliament when Özel made these remarks.
"I thank Özgür Özel for being a fan of the Reis (President Erdoğan's alias), and for showing his commitment and praise to our president and Lausanne," Özkan finally said.Thousands attend first Friday prayers at Hagia Sophia