Erdogan, who became president in 2014 and ruled Turkey since, has sought to strengthen Turkey’s regional role as well as a leading state in the Islamic world.
MUSLIMS PRAY in front of the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul earlier this month.
(photo credit: MURAD SEZER/REUTERS)
A Turkish magazine, Gercek Hayat, (True Life) praised the Islamic restoration of the Hagia Sophia church back into a mosque and declared the need to re-establish a Turkish caliphate, according to the Simon Wiesenthal Centre.
Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who became Turkish president in 2014 and has ruled Turkey since, has sought to strengthen Turkey’s regional role as well as a leading state in the Islamic world.
The magazine described the remake of Hagia Sophia into a mosque as a step in the direction of establishing a caliphate that will reach Jerusalem.
“After Hagia Sophia Church opened to worship as a mosque, discussion returned to the Caliphate, along a route from Mecca to Al-Quds (Jerusalem) and beyond,” the magazine stated. “The shining landmark along the way is Istanbul, through the shrine of Hagia Sophia… The Philippines, Niger, Indonesia are the Land of the Caliphate, coordinating the world’s Muslims…”
The recent decision to turn the 1,500-year-old cathedral back into a mosque was another important victory for Erdogan, who is seeking to bring back the glory of Ottoman Empire.
Dr. Shimon Samuels, Director for International Relations at the Wiesenthal Centre noted that “the Hagia Sophia takeover as a mosque was also led by a more worrying Turkish NGO – the IHH (International Humanitarian Relief Foundation).”
The organization was responsible for organizing a humanitarian flotilla, which included ten ships, with the clear intention of breaking the legally imposed Israeli blockade on Gaza back in May 2010.
Curiously enough, perhaps in another act of usurpation the magazine included the famous saying by Hillel the Elder: “If I am not for myself, who will be? / If I am only to myself, what am I? / If not now, when? – likely reinterpreting it to support Erdogan’s expansionist agenda.