Erdogan Orders Another Historic Byzantine Church To Be Turned Into A Mosque In Istanbul

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Erdogan Orders Another Historic Byzantine Church To Be Turned Into A Mosque In Istanbul

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has ordered an Orthodox church in Istanbul to also begin functioning as a mosque. The move comes just months after the Turkish state ordered the famous Hagia Sophia in Istanbul be converted into a mosque after formerly being a non-denominational UNESCO world heritage site.


On Friday, an edict signed by Erdogan and published in Turkey's official gazette declared:


"The management of the Kariye Mosque be transferred to the Religious Affairs Directorate, and (the mosque) opened to worship."


The Church of the Holy Saviour in Chora was first constructed in the 4th century just outside what was then Constantinople. The walls of the current construction date from the 11th century and the interior features from the 1300's when Istanbul was under Byzantine control.



After modern Turkey was conquered by the Ottomans in the 15th century many former churches were converted into mosques. However, in the 20th century many were either made into museums or functioned as churches for Turkey's Christian minority.


While it is not clear how the church will be treated after its conversion, at the Hagia Sophia a curtain has been drawn over a large fresco of the Virgin Mary and the infant Jesus to avoid it being seen by worshippers, according to Reuters news agency.


President Erdogan's AKP Party which rules Turkey is based upon a strong Islamic base but has been harshly criticised for undermining Turkey's secular and democratic constitution. It is felt by many that these moves are to shore up support for Erdogan as he struggles to deal with an economic crisis and the fall-out of the CoVid-19 pandemic.


Turkey now has more journalists imprisoned than any other country and many opposition newspapers have been closed and opponents jailed. Such moves intensified following a failed coup attempt in 2016.


The United States, Greece, Russia and the EU have all condemned Erdogan's actions in relation to the Hagia Sophia.

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Thinking Humanity: Erdogan Orders Another Historic Byzantine Church To Be Turned Into A Mosque In Istanbul
Erdogan Orders Another Historic Byzantine Church To Be Turned Into A Mosque In Istanbul
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has ordered an Orthodox church in Istanbul to also begin functioning as a mosque. The move comes just months after the Turkish state ordered the famous Hagia Sophia in Istanbul be converted into a mosque after formerly being a non-denominational UNESCO world heritage site. On Friday, an edict signed by Erdogan and published in Turkey's official gazette declared: "The management of the Kariye Mosque be transferred to the Religious Affairs Directorate, and (the mosque) opened to worship."
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