“Erdogan is using Turkey’s monuments and worshipping places as new cards in a longer term game he has been conducting to win not only extra regional admirers but also cross continental roles, in his capacity as ‘Sultan of the Millennium’.”
For the past few weeks, the Hagia Sophia U-turn from church to mosque has been almost the latest hit on the news worldwide. Few are those analysts who troubled themselves to answer the question: What lies deep down behind this move by Erdogan? In fact, the resourceful Turkish President has multiple reasons for coming up with this move.
By reverting Hagia Sophia into a mosque, the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is buying himself back the loyalty of his electoral base in Turkey following the humiliating defeat his AK Party suffered in Istanbul’s March 31 municipal elections. At the same time, Erdogan is buying himself sympathy of the mob in the Arab region, in the Middle East and in the Moslem world as a whole. However, Erdogan knows quite well that by such a move, he is buying himself worldwide disgust by the globe’s well-educated classes and by the kind-hearted masses of pure hearts who know that leniency, forgiveness and co-existence are the bases for heavenly religions to flourish together side by side.
Turkey’s ruler of today is deeply motivated by the 15th of July 2016 failed coup d’état which enabled him to suppress opposition at the internal level in the Turkish homeland. Today’s Hagia Sophia move from church to mosque is merely anther gamble by the Turkish AK Party leader. Through this adventure, Erdogan aims at regaining supremacy in his own AK Party, paving the way for him to surpass Turkish national parties and ensure him an easy win in forthcoming elections. Thus, Erdogan aims at the title of ‘Sultan of The Millennium’, at least in Turkish homeland politics. Even the fanatics of ISIS cannot help but clap their hands in sick appreciation of Erdogan’s church to mosque move, as if there were not enough places of worshipping in Turkey. So far, Erdogan has mounted the saddle of the AK Party, which in turn has been the vehicle for his position as a regional player. Now with the Hagia Sophia political theater, Erdogan has provided himself with a more powerful means than the AK Party. Today Erdogan has a carriage of horses stronger than just the Party. All fanatical Islamic organizations are on his side, thanks to his Hagia Sophia gamble.
However this gear shift in Turkish politics is surely in reverse, a move plainly against the principles of the modern Turkish Republic, established by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk. Actually, Erdogan cares less about those principles, so long as his latest move will stir Turkish politics sufficiently for his ambitions in the forthcoming elections. Erdogan’s Hagia Sophia gamble is intended to be exported worldwide, in order to attract international fanatical support and to convey his blunt ‘Ottoman Sultan’ messages to the old continent.
So far as Europe is concerned, the Hagia Sophia church to mosque move is simply another blackmail tactic to demonstrate to the European Union that they have a serious threat at their south-eastern border. It is not only immigrants who are manipulated by the new Ottoman Sultan, as a card in his gamble with the EU. Now Erdogan is using Turkey’s monuments and worshipping places as new cards in a longer term game he has been conducting to win not only extra regional admirers but also cross continental roles, in his capacity as ‘Sultan of the Millennium’.