Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan remembered Hagia Sophia during a big event in Ankara called "Century of Turkey", organised by his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP). He referred to his plan in view of the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Republic of Turkey on October 29, 2023.
To everyone's surprise, extreme provocations against Greece were absent from Erdoğan's speech, however the Turkish president did refer to Hagia Sophia and its conversion into a mosque.
Erdoğan stated that whoever tried to divide or clash with the people here in the past contributed to this great revolution in Turkey, saying: "Muslims who are excluded because of their faith, Kurds who are discriminated against because of their language, Alevis who are oppressed because of their identity."
"We stood by the Christian and Jewish sons of these lands who were exposed to injustice. In short, we supported the struggle and redressed the losses of all those who were persecuted by guardianship in this country," he added.
Afterwards, Erdogan referred to Hagia Sophia. "The fact that we have realised a dream of many generations, reopening Hagia Sophia as a mosque, is a great challenge against the global guardianship."
Istanbul’s Hagia Sophia was originally a 6th century Christian Cathedral built by the Greek-speaking Eastern Romans (Byzantines). The cathedral was first converted to a mosque upon the Ottoman conquest of Constantinople in 1453.
Hagia Sophia was converted into a museum in 1937 but Islamic worship started again in the most significant surviving Byzantine monument on July 24, 2020, upon the orders of the Turkish president.
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