What would you say if the Vatican was turned into a mosque ? Or that the Museum of the Louvre became the residence of the French president ? On a historical scale, it is a little of what has just happened in Turkey with the hagia Sophia.
This basilica, which was a museum since 1935, will become a mosque. And has decided Recep Tayyip Erdogan, to the delight of the islamists. Because even if the conversion of the basilica has long been a topic of discussion in Turkey, it was also one of the promises of the official program of the islamic State.
WHAT IS The HISTORY OF THE BASILICA ?
High on the ruins of a temple dedicated to Apollo, the basilica has been for almost 900 years the largest christian place of worship in the world. The basilica was located in the city of Constantinople, today called Istanbul. Constantinople was the capital of the eastern part of the roman Empire. In 1453, she will fall in the hands of muslims, and the coveted for centuries. The hagia Sophia will become a mosque. In 1923, Mustafa Kemal, said Atatürk (a title which means ” the father of all Turks “), will undertake the modernization of Turkey. To do this, it will adopt a series of measures intended to liberate his people from the influence of the muslim clergy. Among other things, in 1934, he transformed hagia Sophia into an extraordinary museum that it will offer as a gift to world heritage.
WHAT IS THE SYMBOLIC VALUE OF THE BASILICA ?
The basilica has for centuries been the world center of the orthodox faith. She then became a trophy for the muslims. In the 20th century, it morphed into an emblem of Turkish secularism and peaceful co-existence between christians and muslims. Nowadays, the islamists have made an important step in the conquest of the world by Islam.
WHY ERDOGAN TOOK IT AS TO RECONVERT THE HAGIA SOPHIA ?
Erdogan is being challenged within his party. The conversion of hagia Sophia into a mosque is meant to calm down his supporters, islamists, the most fundamentalist. For Erdogan, the conversion into a mosque mark the end of secularism in Turkey. It also signals the transition to a new stage of the reconstruction of the nationalism in Turkish conqueror. It shows finally, if any was needed, that Turkey has completely abandoned the dream of joining the european Union.
HOW TO REACT TO OTHER COUNTRIES ?
The reactions in Greece and in Russia, where live a great number of the orthodox, are extremely negative. The United States has also condemned the gesture. But beyond words, what can these countries ? The White House is itself noyautée by religious fundamentalists. Nearly 40 % of the voters of Donald Trump are religious fundamentalists and evangelists. For them, the conversion of a museum into a mosque is a good news.
WHAT IS at STAKE IN the BACKGROUND ?
This conversion illustrates the rise of religiosity in the world and in particular the progress of islam, a religion that continues to be dominated by islamist currents, away from humanism. According to the Pew Research Center, over the next 30 years, muslims are expected to form the religious group is the most numerous in the world. Thus, the conversion of the hagia Sophia is a curious echo of the fall of Constantinople and, for the islamists, it is a symbol of how prescient the return of their power. Through this conversion, the lights of the West are narguées by forces obscurantist.