European Humanists call on Turkey to reverse Ayasofya’s conversion to mosque

European Humanists call on Turkey to reverse Ayasofya’s conversion to mosque

Posted on the 13/07/20


13 July 2020
 
The European Humanist Federation condemns the decision of Turkish authorities to convert Ayasofya (Haghia Sophia or Sancta Sophia) back to a mosque as a blow to the secular character of the country whose large majority are Muslims. Ayasofia was a Byzantine church through 1453 and then a mosque until 1935 when the founder of the modern secular Turkish state Mustafa Kemal Atatürk transformed it into a museum. 
 
“It was the most important and deliberate decision by Kemal Ataturk to say rest of world: ‘We are secular, we are different than other Muslim countries, we are like Europeans and we are modern so please accept us among you. We want to be seen like this…The Turkish nation is very proud to be the only secular Muslim nation and this was the biggest sign of it. Now they took away that pride from the nation” said yesterday Turkish  Nobel Prize winner for literature Orhan Pamuk to Nikkei Asian Review.  
 
EHF believes indeed that with this highly symbolic move, Turkish authorities confirm the long-standing concerns that they want to turn the country into an Islamic state incompatible with the values of Europe to which Turkey claims that it continues to aspire to belong and jeopardizing secular and other critical voices.
 
This is why EHF calls on Turkey to promptly reverse that decision.
 

 


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