Turkey’s President Erdogan drops plan to pray at Hagia Sophia?
April 17, 2017
Turkey’s President Recep Erdogan apparently did not carry through with his announced plan to pray at the Hagia Sophia on April 14.
The Turkish leader is appealing to Muslims in his campaign to solidify his political control over the country. He had announced a plan to pray at the Hagia Sophia—which had been built as a Christian church, then converted into a mosque, and made a secular museum by a 1934 decree of Kemal Ataturk, the founder of the current Turkish regime. Ataturk had insisted on a secular goverment for Turkey; by praying at the Hagia Sophia, Erdogan would have moved Turkey closer to Islamic rule.
The timing of Erdogan’s gesture—which had been announced for Good Friday—was also seen as a slap at the country’s Christian minority.
However, April 14 was reported as a normal day at the Hagia Sophia, with no notice of a presidential visit. Erdogan’s public calendar listed only a speech for that day.
- Turkish President Erdogan to pray at Hagia Sophia, raising questions about secular status (CWN, 4/7)