Turkey, Erdogan rejects international appeals on Hagia Sophia: “It is a direct attack on our sovereignty”


The appeals came from the Orthodox Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople to the American secretary of state Mike Pompeo: Hagia Sophia, former church become mosque under the Ottoman Empire and now a symbolic monument of Istanbul, should not go back to being a place of worship for i Muslims, as you want Erdogan. But the pressures of international community they do not affect the intentions of the president which, on the contrary, bubble to him appeals coming from all over the world as external interference: “Making accusations against our country on Hagia Sophia is a direct attack on our sovereignty,” he said Erdogan pending that in two weeks the State Council Turkish decides on the future of the museum, which for 85 years has been a museum at the behest of the father of the country Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, after having been a Christian basilica for almost a millennium and an Islamic place of worship with the Ottoman grip in 1453.

Yesterday the hearing before the judges of the tenth section of the maximum administrative tribunal of Ankara it lasted just half an hour, just long enough to listen the arguments of theAssociation for the protection of historical monuments and the environment. According to his lawyer, Selami Karaman, the transformation into a museum violated the sultan’s “property right” Muhammad II and his heirs, which would have been acquired with the conquest of Constantinople.

For the power of attorney, however, the status of the most visited monument in Turkey it only depends on government decisions, as happened with the decree of Ataturk, which therefore should not be touched. In case, it would be up to the executive to modify it. An indirect assist to the president Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who in the past had promised to bring the building back to function an Islamic place of prayer, and now he could claim it the authority even in the face of a contrary pronunciation of the judges. In any case, further regulatory action would be needed after the verdict. But the tug of war over the future of Hagia Sophia is destined to last until the pronouncement of the Council of State, which is expected before July 15, the symbolic date of the fourth anniversary of the failed coup in Turkey. There will hardly be time for a formal change, but for Erdogan, needing to flesh out his consents, it could fall flat for an announcement to remember.

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