Zeitgeist Turkey | Episode 14: Ankara’s hardline domestic policies and the fate of relations with the West
Duvar English’s editor-in-chief Cansu Çamlıbel and pollster Can Selçuki are joined by Robert Bosch Academy's Galip Dalay to discuss the impact of Turkish government's recent domestic policy moves on Ankara's international relations. They look for answers to whether there is any possibility that Turkey's relations with the West might change for the better any time soon.
Taner Akçam writes: The regime’s bold stroke vis-a-vis Hagia Sophia should not be seen as stemming from desperation. Rather, it is simply meant to relay the not-so-subtle message of the path to be followed by the "New Republic", and that message is that the “annihilationist tradition” of the old regime, inherited by the Republic’s founders, will be retained in the era to come.
A pro-Taliban group has recorded a video at Istanbul's Hagia Sophia, days after the site was converted into a mosque by the Turkish government. The footage showed the group chanting Islamic slogans while holding the flag used by the Taliban.
A ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) deputy has tested positive positive for coronavirus (COVID-19) days after attending Friday prayers at Istanbul's Hagia Sophia. Akay is the third AKP deputy to announce that he was diagnosed with coronavirus after attending the prayers.
Thousands of Muslim worshipers gathered at Hagia Sophia on July 31 morning to attend Eid al-Adha prayers for the first time since the iconic building's conversion into a mosque. Blue Mosque, which sits just across the Hagia Sophia, however got no attention at all, despite being packed during the Eid al-Adha prayers in previous years.
The area in the Hagia Sophia where emperors used to be coronated was left exposed when carpeting was installed in the structure to prepare it for Muslim prayer, Istanbul Culture and Tourism Director Coşkun Yılmaz said. The former museum was opened to Muslim worship on July 24, holding the first mass prayer in decades.
U.S. Ambassador to Turkey David Satterfield and his family visited Hagia Sophia to see the restoration works carried out at the site after its conversion into a mosque. "Ambassador Satterfield toured Hagia Sophia to admire its grandeur and technical genius, and better understand the renovation and restoration work to be completed to preserve the universal value of and continued access to this monumental building," the embassy said on July 30.
There is a need for a segment that will wear the outfit shown at the podium in Hagia Sophia in neighborhoods. The soul and the spirit that has been infused into the AKP government has to have reciprocity in the streets. The sword at the Hagia Sophia mosque opening will turn into a stick if needed.
Though he wants to come to power, the main opposition leader does not even know if there will be an election. He insists the days ahead are bright while the AKP-MHP government twists and undermines the few remaining freedoms and rights that prevail in this country: from gender equality to social media.
The Syrian government will build a replica of the Hagia Sophia that will operate as an Orthodox cathedral, in protest of the Turkish government's move to convert the iconic structure into a mosque, according to various media reports. A Russian lawmaker said that Moscow will provide funding for the project to show the importance of “peaceful dialogue” between faiths.
Police blocked a protest by the Confederation of Public Employees Trade Union (KESK) slamming comments by the country's top religious figure. Diyanet head Ali Erbaş have been the source of controversy nationwide, as he "damned" the country's founding father Atatürk during his sermon at the first mass prayer held at Hagia Sophia.
The seismic research vessel Oruç Reis is now parked inside the port of Antalya. The magic behind the rapprochement is named “Merkel” — but the recent spike of the Euro (and the U.S. dollar) vis-à-vis the Turkish lira may have to do with the sudden change of hearts in Ankara.
The Adana Bar Association has filed a criminal complaint against Diyanet head Ali Erbaş over his remarks said to be "damning" the Turkish Republic's founder Mustafa Kemal Atatürk. The bar association said that Erbaş's remarks from last week's sermon clearly targeted Atatürk and demanded that the top cleric face charges under the Law 5816, called “The Law Concerning Crimes Committed Against Atatürk."
Presidential spokesperson İbrahim Kalın has said that triggering debates on establishing a caliphate and regime change aims to divert Turkey from its goals. "We can never accept damning [someone] at a place like Hagia Sophia as a correct approach. Neither our president nor our friends had such an attitude," Kalın said on Diyanet head Erbaş's remarks.
Turkish authorities have assured UNESCO leadership of their intention to work closely with the organization in carrying out the planned restoration works in Hagia Sophia after its transformation into a mosque, a Russian official said. "Now they have assured us that they will not do anything without consulting UNESCO specialists and promise to invite the organization's experts to Istanbul in the near future," he said.