World Bulletin / News Desk
Republican People’s Party Ankara minister Sinan Aygun has posedthe question as to why the Hagia Sofia shouldn’t be turned into a mosque in the Turkish parliament, following a call to turn the museum into a mosque by a member of Turkey’s third biggest party MHP.
The Hagia Sofia was originally built as an orthodox church around 1,500 years ago, but was converted into a mosque in 1453 after Sultan Mehmet II conquered Istanbul for the Ottoman Empire. After the Ottoman Empire collapsed, making way for the constitutionally secular Republic of Turkey, the mosque was closed and reopened as a museum in 1935.
MHP minister and historian Yusuf Halacoglu first proposed transforming it into a mosque, claiming that it had no legal basis to remain as a museum. Investigations into the decree that turned the Hagia Sofia into a museum have revealed discrepancies regarding the date the decree was issued, as well as sparking claims that the founder and first president of the Turkish Republic Mustafa Kemal Ataturk’s signature was forged.
The signature on the decree dated November 24, 1934 spells K.Ataturk. However, it is well-known that the founder of Turkey and first president had not yet adopted the surname Ataturk on that date, and was back then simply known as Gazi Mustafa Kemal.Last Mod: 27 Kasım 2013, 15:07