The recent prayers of Islamists in front of Hagia Sophia, as regards to turning the monument into a mosque, once again provoked anger expressed in the Turkish newspaper Hurriyet, against the Turkish Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
The journalist, Nuray Mert, with an article directed against those who are trying to bring Hagia Sophia to the forefront, revealed the political and ideological context that covers those actions.
In fact, the journalist reports: “After 12 years in government, Erdogan believes that he conquered Constantinople. This year’s celebrations of the conquest have been accompanied by the steps to change Hagia Sophia into a mosque. Hagia Sophia is another symbol of the idea of conquest, of triumph against the West, that will provide glory and grandeur to the Islamist Turkey. It is true, that Erdogan’s party, AKP, is using this step for political means. Hagia Sophia has been such a symbol for a long time, that’s why it is a great political tool. Therefore, it is absolutely important to know the ideological, mental and emotional state of the conservative majorities, in order to understand the significance of Erdogan’s moves as he marches toward the presidency.”
Nuray Mert continues explaining Erdogan’s predominace for consecutive years: “The AKP’s success for three terms and the Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s charismatic leadership are being viewed as not only the beginning of “the new era in Turkey,” but also as the force which put an end to the corrupt times and politics in the name of Westernism and secularism. This is the reason why the Conquest of Constantinople has always been a very important event of celebration, even when Islamists were the opposition, but now, after the AKP managed not only to be in government for 12 years, but also to acquire state powers. The nationalist, conservative, Islamist tradition of historical narrative has become official.”