I’ve visited Turkey many times and loved it. The people are warm and hospitable, and the terrain is incredibly beautiful. I’ve prayed at the Blue Mosque and visited Hagia Sophia – all memorable experiences.
But the leadership of Turkey today is pathetic.
The latest move by President Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey as he announced plans to convert the Hagia Sophia museum, originally a Byzantine cathedral, into a mosque is very disappointing.
Even more disappointing is the fact that there is no formal protest by governments and churches.
There are no peaceful rallies in front of Turkish embassies and consulates. Canada could have protested through the Office of Religious Freedom – but wait a moment – the Liberal government decided to close that down due to political correctness and because it doesn’t conform to the values “we don’t have”!
Let’s discuss what’s happening: Hagia Sophia (Greek for "Holy Wisdom") was built in the 6th century in Constantinople — today's Istanbul — and remained the world's largest cathedral for nearly 1,000 years.
In 1453 Ottoman Sultan Mehmet II converted Hagia Sophia into a mosque after taking Constantinople from the Byzantines and until 1934 Hagia Sophia remained a mosque.
The Turkish Republic, under the first president Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, turned the city's Hagia Sophia mosque into a museum in 1935, some say in respect for the Christians.
The question arises then, why this move by Erdogan now? There’s no lack of mosques in Turkey. According to the 2015 statistics of Diyanet, Turkish Directorate of Religious Affairs, there are 86,762 mosques in Turkey and 3317 in Istanbul.
The Blue Mosque which is adjacent to Hagia Sophia is never full, so obviously there’s no lack of space.
Hence, it's clear that President Erdogan has made this move for purely political purposes because he wants to appease the Islamists and become the Caliph. So he’s taken the easy way out by converting a secular space into a mosque.
Imagine if this was the other way around and a mosque had been converted to another place of worship? You would have seen mass hysteria in the Muslim world and literally swords drawn.
Many people are arguing that Erdogan has made this move to turn Hagia Sophia into a mosque for reasons of faith.
This is not the case.
If Erdogan’s motive had been one of faith and if he was doing this for the Muslims, then he should have taken stronger steps to stem the tide of genocide that’s taking place as I speak against the Uyghurs of Eastern Turkestan, an autonomous region in the Chinese province of Sin-Kiang, who have much in common with the Turks: same religion, language and ethnicity.
They are subject to a ferocious and systematic repression to which the rest of the world is practically indifferent. There are already more than a million internees in “re-education camps” about which practically nothing is known and organ harvesting is taking place among other inhuman horrors.
But Turkey does thriving business with China (which is the biggest exporter to Turkey) and Erdogan is not willing to shake the status quo by holding China responsible for their atrocities.
Secondly, Turkey has very close ties with the Iranian regime who continue to persecute their own people. The regime is buying land in Turkey which has a strong presence of the IRGC. If Erdogan was so concerned about Muslims and Islam, he would have spoken out about the Iranian regimes murderous activates.
And how about holding China and Iran accountable for their COVID 19 cover-ups?
By the way, that Iranian regimes presence is seen here in Canada as well, but our leaders are indifferent as they prance from one corrupt scandal to another.