A new decision of Erdogan to convert former ancient Orthodox church on a mosque
On Friday, the President of Turc Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced the transformation of another ancient Orthodox church, which became a mosque and then a popular Istanbul museum, on a place of prayer.
This new decision to transform the Kariye Museum on a mosque came only after a month that a similarly controversial conversion for Hagia Sophia that was recognized by the UNESCO World Heritage.
The history of this old building that dates to 1,000 years reflects exactly that of the Hagia Sophia, its bigger neighbor on the historic western bank of the Golden Horn on the European side of Istanbul. The Holy Savior in Chora was a medieval Byzantine church decorated with 14th-century frescoes of the Last Judgement that still treasured in the Christian world.
Actually, it was converted into the Kariye Mosque after a half-century of the 1453 conquest of Constantinople by the Ottoman Turks, and after World War II it became the Kariye Museum while turkey went ahead with the creation of a worldlier new republic out of the ashes of the Ottoman Empire.
Thereafter, a group of American art historians helped to restore the original mosaics of the church and opened it to exposition in 1958, however, Erdogan has really focused in the past few years on the conflict that resulted in the defeat of Byzantium by the Ottomans. In November, the top administrative court of Turkey approved the conversion of the museum to a mosque.
An AFP reporter, who visited the site after a short time that the decree of Erdogan was published, reported that the museum still open to visitors, not like the Hagia Sophia which was closed immediately for conversion.