Hagia Sophia: “What’s being performed here is an act of cultural vandalism”

July 14, 2020

The conversion of Hagia Sophia to a mosque is not the end of the matter. His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros of America states: “We must arise, beloved Christians. We must arise and speak out for the silent stones of Ἁγία Σοφία. We must go to our Christian neighbors and friends here in this free land of America, and ask for their prayers and their help. We must arise and speak to our elected leaders and demand that they act in conscience and righteousness to protest by every means possible this defiance of the modern sensibility which respects not only diversity, but the status quo that allows for the peaceful and harmonious cohabitation of nations, religions, races, and ethnicities.”

For previous coverage of the persecution of Christians in Turkey, see here.

“Turkey’s test of civilization,” by Taner Akçam, Ahval News, July 13, 2020:

Basically, the whole Hagia Sophia affair can be summed up with the phrases “improper” or “a shame”. But I think that the audience whom I am addressing do not possesses the cultural delicacy to find these words meaningful. For their sakes, it would better to formulate it in a frank manner that they could more easily understand: the deed that is being performed in regard to Hagia Sophia is a clear show of barbarism.

It is a declaration of a “Turkish lack of culture and destructiveness” to the entire world. And the pairing of President and AK Party leader Recep Tayyip Erdoğan with MHP leader Devlet Bahçeli is the political alliance through which this lack of culture and destructiveness has been made manifest.

“But, why?” you may ask.

Because with this step it’s being said to the world that “Even though we live in the 21st century, our mentality is still that of 1453. Even now, in the 21st century, we are utterly unconcerned with preserving the cultural heritage of humanity. Among us, there’s no sense of a greater cultural inheritance beyond that which was left to us; we have nothing to contribute to humanity’s cultural treasures. We are unable to create any new cultural value ourselves. We seize the cultural treasures of humanity, we break them and/or we destroy them.”

This is what’s being done. Here, now, in the 21st century, the Hagia Sophia, one of the most significant monuments of human culture will again be “conquered” and turned into a mosque, just like in 1453.

What’s being performed here is an act of cultural vandalism….

“The places where the Ottoman has set his foot have not flourished”, the places where the Turk has stepped “have withered and died.” “The Ottoman rulers have done nothing with the places they have conquered other than to raze and destroy, to blight.”…

Indeed, the Erdoğan-Bahçeli partnership is only the most recent manifestation of a barbarism and tradition of destruction whose roots run deep in these lands.

The geography of Anatolia today is one of destruction, of ruin; it is filled with thousands of churches and other holy places being used as stables or warehouses.

The Erdoğan-Bahçeli partnership (and we can just as easily add Patriotic Party (VP) head Doğu Perinçek) represents this tradition of destruction that has razed Anatolia, that has not only deported and liquidated whole peoples, but also destroyed their cultural heritage and attempted to erase all trace of them.

Today, Turkish vandalism, Turkish destructiveness holds the reins of power as the Erdoğan-Bahçeli-Perinçek coalition.

Every Turk must therefore understand that opposing this axis is, at its core, the waging of a war for civilization….