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.
Demolishing old distilleries and turning them into Islamic culture centers, alone, has its challenging symbolism, just by itself. It symbolizes the intolerance toward a lifestyle, the tension trying to be kept alive by setting cultural differences in Turkey against each other.
Turkish FM Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu has criticized his Spanish counterpart Arancha Gonzalez Laya's reference to Hagia Sophia as a “common house.” "If she [Laya] meant that Hagia Sophia should remain a site where believers of other faiths will perform worship, we do not agree with this,” Çavuşoğlu said.
The Organizing Committee of Byzantine Studies has announced that the 24th International Byzantine Studies Congress will no longer be held in Istanbul. The move came after the Turkish government converted Istanbul's Hagia Sophia, an iconic example of Byzantine architecture, into a mosque.
Caretakers of Gli the Hagia Sophia cat have warned visitors of the museum-turned-mosque on his old age after overwhelming attention. "Thanks a lot for all your attention, but as you know I'm 16 years old. That means almost 81 human years," read the caption of a picture shared on the cat's Instagram account.
Gerçek Hayat, a magazine owned by a pro-government media group, has called for the establishment of caliphate in Turkey. "Hagia Sophia and Turkey are free now," the cover page read. "If not now, when? If not you, who? Get together for a caliphate," it added.
Thousands of people have called on Diyanet head Ali Erbaş to resign after his remarks that "damned" the country's founding father, Atatürk. Erbaş, whose Islamist statements often draw ire, on July 24 caused outrage for giving a sermon at Hagia Sophia that included apparent damning of Atatürk.
Artifacts from Istanbul's ancient Hagia Sophia will be displayed in a nearby public building that will be transformed into a museum. Formerly used as a land office, the late-19th-century building in historical Sultanahmet will be converted on the president's orders.
Not practically, but theoretically the recent scene at Hagia Sophia was not un-reminiscent of Al Baghdadi’s Mosul Friday sermon. This is not who we are. We must be better than this and we are better than this. The year is 2020.
Strictly speaking, Turkey could indeed do whatever it wishes with the Hagia Sophia. Yet calling the conversion a “reversion” is revolting. The conversion indeed points to a reversion, not of the Hagia Sophia, though, but of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) of President Erdoğan.
Erdoğan government’s ability to expand its repression and go further with ever more assertiveness without facing any resistance has to do with the haplessness and perhaps deficient aptitudes of those who could check it. Cynical pundits, eager to crush opposition figures, say “you’ll see what comes next,” and they are always proven right.
A group of fundamentalists have marched on Istanbul's streets after praying at Hagia Sophia. Footage on Twitter showed men in robes chanting "God is great" as they marched.
Turkey's Religious Affairs Directorate (Diyanet) head Ali Erbaş delivered the Friday sermon at Hagia Sophia with a sword in hand, presenting an Ottoman tradition of conquest. Two green flags were also hung on the pulpit of the mosque as a symbol of conquest.