Turkey’s decision to turn Istanbul’s 6th century Hagia Sophia cathedral from a museum into a mosque has sparked controversy across the world including accusations that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has framed the issue differently based on his audience.
Erdogan criticized for double speak
Spot the difference.
Erdogan in English: Hagia Sophia's doors will be, as is the case with all our mosques, wide open to all, whether they be foreign or local, Muslim or non-Muslim.
Erdogan in Arabic: Revival of Hagia Sophia is a sign towards return of freedom to AlAqsa mosque. pic.twitter.com/6Niid8fP8J
— Jenan Moussa (@jenanmoussa) July 11, 2020
Two Completely Contradictory Messages
As #Erdogan uses phrases such as 'open to all' and 'shared heritage of humanity' in English
In Arabic it reads as a romanticised Sultan-like speech appealing to a certain "fan base" to trigger extremist ideology and action pic.twitter.com/nLgjZMrHKK
— جهينه ع. آل علي (@JuhainaAlAli) July 11, 2020
Is Hagia Sophia decision the end of secularism?
Here is a personal note: I am a proud #Ottoman. I have always been.
But to me, it means not conquest (which was a reality of the times, but nothing virtuous.) It means pluralism, tolerance, lack of nationalist bigotry.
I do respect Sultan Mehmed II. But for things like this: pic.twitter.com/LXJMEUkZmc
— Mustafa Akyol (@AkyolinEnglish) July 10, 2020
This regrettable move Mr President makes Istanbul poorer culturally. There are over 3,000 mosques in Istanbul. Hagia Sophia is much more than a physical building, it is a unifying symbol for various faiths. https://t.co/w2HPOO5gbo
— سلطان سعود القاسمي (@SultanAlQassemi) July 10, 2020
Religiously divisive – but backed by some
Those Muslims saying Erdoğan was justified in converting the Hagia Sofia because Christian nations converted mosques into churches are missing the point spectacularly.
Meeting wrong with wrong is wrong.
Besides, this goes against the tenets established by Umar ibn al-Khattab.
— Khaled Diab (@DiabolicalIdea) July 11, 2020
Al Arabiya English