The almost 1,500-year-old Hagia Sophia, whose grand dome, minarets and rust-colored partitions outline the Istanbul skyline, attracts thousands and thousands of holiday makers a 12 months. Whereas vacationers will proceed to have entry to the location if it turns into a mosque, critics have argued that the reclassification is religiously divisive and that the Hagia Sophia’s attraction, as a vacation spot for guests no matter religion, could possibly be diminished. Among the loudest criticism has come from overseas, together with from america and Greece, which is essentially Orthodox Christian.
Muslim non secular conservatives and nationalists in Turkey have for years pushed for the reclassification of the Hagia Sophia. Erdogan’s stepped-up help for his or her efforts this time is tied to his want to whip up political help as his home recognition wanes, analysts mentioned.
“The US views a change within the standing of the Hagia Sophia as diminishing the legacy of this exceptional constructing and its unsurpassed potential — so uncommon within the trendy world — to serve humanity as a much-needed bridge between these of differing religion traditions and cultures,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo mentioned in a press release this month.
“We urge the Authorities of Turkey to proceed to take care of the Hagia Sophia as a museum, as an exemplar of its dedication to respect the religion traditions and numerous historical past that contributed to the Republic of Turkey, and to make sure it stays accessible to all,” he mentioned.
Stelios Petsas, a spokesman for the Greek authorities, mentioned this month that changing the Hagia Sophia would create “an enormous emotional chasm between the Christians of the world and Turkey,” based on Reuters.