Following the Turkish judiciary’s decision to cancel the Cabinet’s decision of 1934, which decided to convert “Hagia Sophia” in Istanbul from a mosque to a museum; Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan gave a historical speech in which he reviewed the history of Istanbul and Hagia Sophia, and spoke about the Byzantine Empire and the Ottoman conquest, and dealt with the presence of churches in Turkey, and the history of the modern Balkan region.
"In fact, this decision that was taken during the one-party period in 1934 was not only a betrayal of history, but also against the law, because" Hagia Sophia "is not the property of the state or any institution, it is the property of the endowment of Sultan Mehmed the Conqueror, affirming Turkey's historical rights And legal that dates back to 567 years.
"There are some shortcomings that will be avoided, as some preparations will take place within 6 months, we will finish them, God willing, during that period, and of course we make preparations, so let him come from Muslims, non-Muslims and the Christian world. And when they all come, they will see that there are no sayings circulating here On the contrary, we will give them the best example of how to transfer the heritage that we received from our ancestors to the future. "
Erdogan said there is no doubt that Turkey has the right to convert "Hagia Sophia" to a mosque in a manner consistent with what was stated in the Endowment (Endowment), and offered the Endowment of the Endowment of Sultan Mehmed the Conqueror, stressing that "everything contained in this endowment is a basis for us", and he drew attention to the fact that there More than 453 churches in Turkey.
Conquest of Constantinople
The Turkish President considered the opening of Istanbul and the transformation of "Hagia Sophia" into a mosque among the brightest pages of Turkish history; After a long siege, Sultan Mehmed the Conqueror enters the city of Istanbul Fatiha on May 29, 1453, and goes straight to Hagia Sophia. Then the Byzantine inhabitants had fear and anxiety awaiting their fate in the Hagia Sophia, but Al-Fateh gave them safety over their lives and freedoms.
Erdogan continued, "Then (Muhammad Al-Fatih) enters Hagia Sophia, planting his flag as a symbol of the opening in the place where the mihrab is located, throwing an arrow toward the dome, and shouting the ears inside it, and thus his opening is recorded, then he moves to one of the corners of the temple and finds a prostration of thanks and then prays two rakats, By his behavior, he reveals the conversion of the Hagia Sophia to a mosque. Sultan Mehmed the Conqueror carefully examined the temple, which is the pearl of Istanbul from its floor to ceiling.
Historians reported that Sultan Mehmed the Conqueror recited two verses of poetry when he stood in front of the scene of the ruin that occurred in the edifice, in which he said, "A spider weaves a curtain in the Caesar palace ... and an owl guarding in the Afrasiab tower."
Erdogan continued, "Yes, this is how Sultan Mehmed the Conqueror took over the city of Istanbul and Hagia Sophia, where they were destroyed and two crumbling ruins."
The "Hagia Sophia", which al-Fateh received, was built for the third time on the ruins of two churches that were destroyed and burned during the turmoil.
Sultan Aya Sofia was opened to worship 3 days after the city was opened, through a painstaking effort to perform Friday prayers.
When Al-Fatih entered the mosque with his army and state officials, the takbeers and prayers greeted him, and Friday sermons were delivered on that day, and his sheikh, "Aq Shams al-Din", prayed in congregational prayer.
When Sultan Mehmed the Conqueror conquered Istanbul, he also received the title of Roman Emperor, and thus became the owner of real estate registered in the name of the Byzantine family. According to this law, Hagia Sophia was registered in the name of Muhammad Al-Fateh and the endowment that he established, and an official copy of the title deed prepared in new letters (in which the current Turkish is written) was issued in the Republic period, to register his legal status formally.
"Had it not been for the Hagia Sophia belonging to Sultan Mehmed the Conqueror, he would not have the right to legally dedicate this place," Erdogan said.
In one of his hundreds of endowment pages dating back to June 1, 1453, Sultan Mehmed the Conqueror says:
"Any person who changed this endowment that transformed Hagia Sophia into a mosque, changed one of its materials, canceled it, or even transgressed it, or sought to stop the work of the mosque’s endowment rule through any conspiracy or corrupt or corrupt interpretation, or changed its origin, and objected For his offspring, or help and guide those who do so, or contributed with those who have carried out such unlawful behavior, or removed Hagia Sophia from being a mosque, or demanded things such as the right to guardianship through false papers, or his (place) record in his records of The false way or adding it to his account is a lie, I say in your presence all that he has committed the largest types of forbidden and committed a sin.
Whoever changes this endowment is a person or group, upon him or them forever, the curse of God, the Prophet, the angels and rulers and all Muslims all, and we ask God not to relieve them of torment, and not to look at their faces on the day of the month, and whoever hears these words, and continues his quest to change that, his sin will fall on who He is allowed to change, and they all have torture from God, and God is All-Knowing.
Protect the churches
Erdogan considered that Sultan Mehmed the Conqueror assumed the responsibility of protecting the Orthodox Church, which was excluded by other Christian sects, and worked on developing it, stressing at the same time that "the domes of this great temple, and its walls, from that day (the conquest) and for 481 years, were a place of ears Prayers, enlargements, supplications, the completion of the Qur’an and celebrations of the Prophet’s birthday, and with the conquest of Istanbul, Hagia Sophia was a symbol of it, when it rose again on its feet after being destroyed for centuries by earthquakes, fires, thefts, and neglect. ”
And starting from Sultan Mehmed the Conqueror, each Ottoman Sultan sought to add more beauty to Istanbul and the "Hagia Sophia", which was known with the passage of time in the Great Mosque of Medina, after the additions that were attached to it from its outskirts, to become a complex that provides services to believers throughout the ages.
Erdogan said that "Hagia Sophia" has seen frequent restoration and maintenance, to look like this, and to become the apple of the Turkish people. Even her name, which means "wisdom of the Lord," was left unchanged. And as it is clear, our ancestors did not only convert this temple to a mosque after it was the ruins of a dilapidated state that was in danger of falling, but rather revived it again and raised its importance. "
And when the Hagia Sophia was established during the era of "Eastern Rome", construction supplies were brought from the outskirts of the empire, from Egypt to Izmir, and from Syria to the Balksir, but the Sultans after the conquest brought the masters of the arts from the Anatolia region and Romelli (the European lands of the Ottoman Empire) to Istanbul in order to build and build them from new.
And the Ottoman Sultans took advantage of the cultural inheritance they inherited, a good example of which is the preservation of Muhammad al-Fatih's mosaics inside the Hagia Sophia.
This mosaic remained unchanged over many years, then it was covered in order to preserve it from external factors, and this action is consistent with the essence of the Islamic religion, and what the Holy Prophet recommended when he asked Muslims, not to attack and sabotage when communicating the message.
When our master Umar bin Al-Khattab entered Jerusalem, he guaranteed the rights of Christians and Jews, protected the places of their worship, and following the path of the countries established by the ancestors, the leaders of the Ottoman Empire walked after the conquest in committing to this inheritance.
Hence, the Hagia Sophia Mosque arrived to this day after the passage of 481 years, retaining its mihrab, pulpit, minarets, royal bowl, paintings, engravings, candlesticks, carpets and all other facilities.
Throughout history in Istanbul, the Hagia Sophia Mosque was the most crowded place to meet the masses, as it was a place where the views of the crowds were truly enjoyed during exceptional days, such as Tarawih, Laylat al-Qadr and Eid, so the right of the Turkish nation to Hagia Sophia is no less than the first builders.
Erdogan said that with the conquest of Istanbul, the city was transformed into a city of peace, in which Muslims, Christians and Jews lived, stressing that "history is a witness to the great struggle we demonstrated for the establishment of prosperity, security, peace and tolerance everywhere we opened, and today there are thousands of historical temples of different religions beside Our mosques are in every corner of our country. "
In addition, there are churches and synagogues in places where its members gather. Currently, there are 435 churches and synagogues open to worship in our country. This scene that we cannot see in other geographic regions is an expression of our understanding that sees our differences as wealth. However - as a nation - we have not been able to avoid adverse examples even in our recent history.
History of the Balkans
Erdogan compared the presence of churches in Turkey to what happened in Eastern Europe and the Balkan region from which the Ottomans were forced to withdraw, and he said, "There are only a few works that our grandparents built over the centuries standing, and from the phrase it cannot be an example, we do not lend any Given these bad proverbs, we firmly maintain the position of our civilization based on construction and revival. "
It is worth noting that the controversy over the Hagia Sophia dates back to a century, during the years of the occupation of Anatolia and Istanbul there was a discussion about converting the Hagia Sophia into a church, and as a first step that reflects the intentions, the occupation unit equipped with complete equipment landed at the door of the Hagia Sophia.
At that time, the French commander of this military unit told the Ottoman officer that he wanted to be located, and that Turkish soldiers should leave the mosque, according to the account reviewed by Erdogan.
But the Ottoman officer at the time, Major Tawfiq Bey, charged with protecting the Hagia Sophia with his soldiers, told the French officer that you cannot enter here and you will not enter it, because this place is our temple, and if you try to enter by force then these heavy weapons will give you the first response, and then the second response will come to you From the various corners of the mosque, and if you are keeping in mind the Hagia Sophia collapse on your head, please come and try to enter; His coldness disappointed the occupiers with the capture of Hagia Sophia.
"It is known that foreigners' interest in Hagia Sophia has continued in the following years with various excuses, such as mosaic restoration work," Erdogan said.
In the period of the one-party (at the beginning of the founding of the Turkish Republic), the government issued a decree in the country that established a rule that the distance between a mosque and a mosque be at least 500 meters, so that the Hagia Sophia would be closed to worship.
After a while, on February 1, 1935, it was announced that the place would be converted into a museum, and that it would be open to visitors.
The Turkish President considered that the "Hagia Sophia" is a trust that the Fatih Sultan abandoned, and turned it into a mosque after 86 years "is nothing but a new late intifada, and this scene is the most beautiful response to the brazen attacks and attacks that target our symbolic values throughout the Islamic world."