Turkey’s Christian minority, including the Orthodox Patriarch, are naturally protesting this renewed Islamic onslaught against what remains of their cultural heritage—to deaf ears.
The Muslim populace’s role in transforming once Christian sites into mosques is a reminder of all those other Turks not protesting the Islamization of Turkey, and who if anything consider Erdogan’s government too “secular.” Their numbers are telling. In May 2012, Reuters reported that
“Thousands of devout Muslims prayed outside Turkey’s historic Hagia Sophia museum on Saturday [May 23] to protest a 1934 law that bars religious services at the former church and mosque. Worshippers shouted, “Break the chains, let Hagia Sophia Mosque open,” and “God is great” [the notorious “Allahu Akbar”] before kneeling in prayer as tourists looked on. Turkey’s secular laws prevent Muslims and Christians from formal worship within the 6th-century monument, the world’s greatest cathedral for almost a millennium before invading Ottomans converted it into a mosque in the 15th century.”
Calls to turn Hagia Sophia into a mosque is not about Muslims wanting a place to pray—as of 2010, there were 3,000 active mosques in Constantinople alone. Rather, it’s about their reveling, and trying to revivify, the glory days of Islamic jihad and conquest: Reuters added that Muslims “staged the prayers ahead of celebrations next week marking the 559th anniversary of the Ottoman Sultan Mehmet’s conquest of Byzantine Constantinople.” According to Salih Turhan, a spokesman quoted by Reuters, “As the grandchildren of Mehmet the Conqueror, seeking the re-opening Hagia Sophia as a mosque is our legitimate right.”
Sultan Mehmet was the scourge of European Christendom, whose Islamic hordes seized and ravished Constantinople, forcibly turning it Islamic. Openly idolizing him, as many Turks do, is tantamount to their saying “We are proud of our ancestors who killed and stole the lands of European Christians.” And yet, despite such militant overtones, Turhan, whose position is echoed by many Turks, still manages to blame the West: “Keeping Hagia Sophia Mosque closed is an insult to our mostly Muslim population of 75 million. It symbolizes our ill-treatment by the West.”
So keeping a historically Christian/Western building—that was stolen by Islamic jihad—as a neutral museum is seen as “ill-treatment by the West,” even as Turks continue destroying the nation’s original Christian heritage.
And the historical revisions continue. Last May 29th, when Turks celebrate the Fall of Constantinople, Erdogan himself declared that the jihadi invasion—which saw countless Christians enslaved, raped, or slaughtered—was the true “time of enlightenment.” After showing how Erdogan got it upside down, Ralph Sidway, an Orthodox Christian author, wrote:
“Erdogan and Turkey celebrate the Fall of Constantinople, and the West congratulates them. “We are continuing to write history today,” says Erdogan, and write it — or re-write it — they do, under the somnambulant gaze of craven Western leaders too ignorant, or too fearful, to challenge Islam’s claim to moral superiority, historical righteousness and eventual world domination. By their policies, posture and pronouncements, Western European nations, and the United States, are conceding the future to a rapidly re-Islamicizing Turkey, and are aiding in Islam’s stated goal of a new, global caliphate determined to conquer us, just as it conquered Constantinople 560 years ago. Every Turkish celebration of 29 May 1453 is a gauntlet flung down in challenge to the West. Each such event which goes unanswered and unchallenged by the West is another nail in the coffin of Christian culture, human rights, and free people everywhere.”