Negotiations on Turkey’s membership in the European Union should be discontinued. Such an initiative was made by the deputy of the German Bundestag Florian Khan. The politician’s proposal was in response to Recep Erdogan’s decision to return Hagia Sophia to the status of a mosque. Very soon, on July 24, the azan will again sound from the minarets of the ancient temple in Istanbul.

German politician makes a good face with a bad game. Like, Ankara is passion as it wants membership in the EU, and excommunication will be a terrible punishment for it. However, half a century of unsuccessful negotiations long ago convinced the Turks that they were being led by the nose. And Erdogan openly announced a change of strategy. Turkey itself wants to break with Europe. And for this it is consolidating under the banner of Islam.

Europe as a whole is in solidarity in its rejection of the “re-profiling” of the once main Orthodox shrine. True, while her reaction looks toothless enough. Brussels and Paris "expressed regret." The Pope is “saddened” by what happened. The words of the main Europeans about the importance of inter-religious dialogue and tolerance are unlikely to impress the Turkish president. 

But Greece looks poorer. The first to declare their position were businessmen urging them not to buy products with Turkish barcodes 868 and 869. The next step is to appeal to European structures with the demand for the most powerful, sensitive economic sanctions for Turkey. Athens hopes to bring the problem from Greek-Turkish to the global level. Smart move.

And what about Russia? Stakeholder response is cautious. Politicians and the ROC speak more clearly, more clearly, Muslim religious figures - more balanced, streamlined. This is clear. Recall that the political rapprochement with Erdogan began with the invitation of the Turkish leader to open the Cathedral Mosque in Moscow, and it’s difficult to blame him for consistency in this matter.

The State Duma believes that “Ataturk’s wise will be crossed out 85 years later for the sake of immediate political interests and dubious ratings.” This assessment was given by the head of the Foreign Affairs Committee, Leonid Slutsky, recalling that both the Russian parliament and Patriarch Kirill addressed the Turkish president with warning calls. But in vain.

“In the current situation, we can only hope that such a position of the Turkish authorities will not lead to an increase in interfaith divisions and a violation of the fragile balance. For us - those who know and carefully preserve history - Hagia Sophia was and will remain a unique monument of Byzantine architecture and a symbol of tolerance, ”the politician said.

As always, the radical Zhirinovsky launched a verbal counterattack, condemning Erdogan and proposing to rename Istanbul to Constantinople, to make Russian the second state language and to allow free circulation of the ruble.

A Turkologist by training, Vladimir Volfovich reasonably recalled that our tourists are the most important source of income for Ankara.

Metropolitan Hilarion of the Russian Orthodox Church named the incident a slap in the face of world Christianity. But in the administration of Muslims of the Russian Federation they preferred to spread the position of the Turkish Institute of Islamic thought. Its authors note that "the ancient temple was built as a place of worship for one God, who created everything from nothing." There is an attempt to smooth out the situation.

Turkey itself also understands the pain of transforming the temple for the Christian world and promises to do it as gently as possible. So, the interior will undergo only cosmetic changes. Famous mosaics will not be coated with plaster - they will be covered for the duration of the prayer, and the lighting will also be changed. Carpets on the floor will protect the marble floor. And the entrance will be free for everyone.

Most likely, this is a sincere desire of the Turkish authorities. Why resist almost the whole world, the West, Russia, if you can not do this? Moreover, Turkey, despite the distance from Europe, is still closely connected with it economically, accepts many tourists. And even having spat at Brussels about EU membership, it is not necessary to break with the Christian world in all directions. 

True, man assumes, but God disposes. The logic of historical development, political expediency may be stronger than peacefulness and craving for a secure, quiet life. The reaction of the Christian world has already rallied the Turks, including even the Kemalist People’s Republican Party. The power of action gives rise to the power of reaction. 

The fact that Erdogan, in order to turn Hagia Sophia into a mosque, was able, without problems and with the full support of the society, to cancel the decree of Atatürk himself, the author of a secular republic, from 1934, clearly indicates a religious revival in Turkey. In fact, the current Turkish leader has already caught up in political importance with the father of the Turkish nation. What will be his next step?

Türkologists say that the ideology of Erdogan is neo-Ottomanism. That is how they interpret the dream and the words of a politician about Greater Turkey. Perhaps they are right. Ankara’s intervention in the affairs of, for example, Syria or Libya is the first obvious steps along this path. Obviously there will be others. In this sense, the transformation of Hagia Sophia into a mosque is more than symbolic.

And who, what power can prevent this? Perhaps the only way for the world community to somehow control what is happening is to insist on continuing the restoration of the mosaic, which was carried out under the auspices of UNESCO. And on the political line, only Moscow can do something. Still an ally. UNESCO and the Russian president are the whole arsenal of the Christian world.

The author’s point of view may not coincide with the position of the publisher.