NEWS

NYT: Hagia Sophia being used as ‘political tool’

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The New York Times lamented the reconversion of Hagia Sophia into a mosque in an editorial, noting that the UNESCO World Heritage monument has become a “political tool” in Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s hands.

"It is a sad reflection on the state of Turkey’s democracy that a monument of such global importance and value should become an authoritarian leader’s political tool. But what’s done is done; there is no chance that Mr. Erdogan would reverse his decree, even if he could, without firing the fury of his base," the editorial, titled “The Hagia Sophia Was a Cathedral, a Mosque and a Museum. It’s Converting Again,” says.

The paper states that reversing Mustafa Kemal Ataturk’s secular legacy “plays well among Turkish nationalists, for whom the museum inside the Hagia Sophia long represented a humiliating foreign imposition and a blot on the Ottoman past they glorify.”

The NYT editorial also notes that the decision “has drawn little criticism within Turkey and among Muslims outside, and all political parties save one applauded the change.”