|Hagio Sophia before the Turkish invasion.|
Reopening 'Stolen' Hagia Sophia to prayers is my dream, Turkish tourism minister says. (HD).
Culture and Tourism Minister Yalçın Topçu has said he wished for the Hagia Sophia museum in Istanbul to be reopened to prayers for Muslims.
“Opening the Hagia Sophia to prayers [for Muslims] is my personal dream, my goal, my ambition. Although there are several debates over its judicial status, the issue is more of a political debate,” said Topçu, who was nominated as culture and tourism minister in the interim government by Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu ahead of the snap polls scheduled for Nov. 1.
Topçu, the former chair of the Islamist-nationalist Great Union Party (BBP), was a surprising name in the new cabinet.
“There is an international dimension too, because the symbolic meaning of the Hagia Sophia is great. The final decision will be given by this nation rather than the world. A referendum might be the most serious solution,” he said.
He also said demands for the museum to become a mosque again have been reflected as a “radical demand” by the media. Hmmmm......With over 85,000 mosques they're bound to be one short.Read the full story here.
Related: 2013: 17,000 new mosques built under Erdogan Some 17,000 new mosques have been built during Turkish Premier Recep Tayyip Erdogan's 10 years of leadership, Milliyet reports. In the same period the amount of public schools has remained at 32,000 while the number of mosques has jumped from 76,000 to 93,000. Turkey's secular opposition has accused Erdogan of having a ''secret plan'' to re-Islamisize the nation.