In Turkey today, the Council of State has to decide whether Sofia in Istanbul can be converted into a mosque or not.
Built-in the sixth century during the reign of Byzantine King Justinian I, it was the largest church in the world for nearly a thousand years.
When the Ottoman Empire conquered the city in 1453, it was converted into a mosque, but later turned into a museum in the 1930s.
However, if the court allows it on Thursday, it will be rebuilt as a mosque. The building is also on the United Nations World Heritage List.
During his election campaign last year, President Tayyip Erdogan promised change.
Conservative Muslims in Turkey have been demanding for years that the building be turned into a mosque. However, secular political forces in the opposition have opposed the move. The proposal has also been criticized internationally, and religious and political leaders around the world have expressed concern.
The head of the Eastern Orthodox Church opposes it. Greece, where millions of Orthodox Christians live, has also spoken out against the move.
Greece’s culture minister has accused Turkey of fanning nationalist and religious sentiments and insisted that the UNESCO World Heritage Site should not be changed without approval from the organization’s own committee. Can
Meanwhile, UNESCO Deputy Director Ernesto Ramirez also agreed and said that UNESCO has written a letter to Turkey in this regard but no response has been received yet.
What is history?
This famous building is located on the beach in the Faith District of Istanbul.
The Byzantine king Justinian I ordered its construction in 532 when the city was named Constantinople. It was also the capital of the Byzantine Empire (also called the Eastern Roman Empire). Experts brought materials from across the Mediterranean to build the building
When the building was completed in 537, it became the seat of the Orthodox Church. The most important Byzantine ceremonies, such as the coronation, began to take place in this building.
The building remained the home of the Orthodox Church for about nine hundred years. Meanwhile, it remained under the control of the Catholic Church for some time in the 13th century, when European invaders took control of Constantinople and looted the city during the Fourth Crusade.
However, in 1453, the Ottoman Empire captured Constantinople under Sultan Muhammad II, renamed the city Istanbul, and abolished the Byzantine Empire.
Upon entering the building, Sultan Muhammad II insisted that it be rebuilt and turned into a mosque. He also offered Friday prayers in it
Ottoman architects removed Orthodox signs and erected minarets alongside the building. Until the construction of Istanbul’s famous Blue Music in 1616, Sofia was the city’s main mosque.
In 918, the Ottoman Empire was defeated in World War I. Nationalist political forces flourished in Turkey and modern Turkey was born out of this ash kingdom.
Mustafa Kemal Atatرکrk ordered the building to be turned into a museum, and in 1935 it was opened to the public. It is one of the most important tourist attractions in Turkey.
What difference does it make?
The building has a religious, spiritual, and political devotion to many people inside and outside Turkey because of its 1,500-year history.
Conservative Muslims have demanded that it be turned back into a mosque and have staged protests, but a 1934 Turkish law does not allow it.
President Erdoغانan has endorsed this demand. He called it a mistake to turn it into a museum and asked advisers to figure out ways to turn it back into a mosque.
The Eastern Orthodox Church is still based in Istanbul. He says this change will disappoint millions of Christians.