Russia Disapproves Of Hagia Sophia Change

The Russian Orthodox Church fires at Turkey for its plan to convert Istanbul’s Hagia Sophia into a Mosque. 

The move would be “unacceptable,” said a senior official of the Church on Saturday. 

Last week, a Turkish court heard a case focusing on the conversion of Hagia Sophia. 

The move is to return the building from a museum back to being a mosque. 

Moreover, there will be a ruling soon.

The Hagia Sophia is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

It was once at the heart of Christian and Muslim faith, but now it is one of Turkey’s famous tourist sites. 

Metropolitan Hilarion, chairman of the Moscow Patriarchate’s department for external church relations commented on Turkey’s plan to convert the building.

“We can’t go back to the Middle Ages now,” he told Russia’s state media on Saturday.

“We live in a multi polar world, we live in a multi-confessional world, and we need to respect the feelings of believers.”

The Russian Orthodox Church believes that there is politics behind the move. 

“We believe that in the current conditions, this act is an unacceptable violation of religions freedom,” said Hilarion. 

The international community also opposes the move. 

In fact, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and the Greek Government disapproves of it and urges Turkey to suspend the move. 

Hagia Sophia

Controversies Behind the Conversion

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan proposed the conversion of the building, twice, as per Al Jazeera. 

The first time he endorsed the conversion, he told his supporters that it is a response to US’ acknowledgment of making Jerusalem the capital of Israel.

However, observers believe that Erdogan’s endorsements are a political ruse to distract the country from its own problems. 

Aykan Erdemir, Former Turkish Parliamentarian, believes that the calls for conversion is still about politics.

Erdogan’s calls suggest “a strong link” between political considerations and the instrumentalization of Hagia Sophia, Erdemir told Al Jazeera. 


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