The Orthodox Times and several other media outlets covered a recent speech in which Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the president of Turkey, once again celebrated the Hagia Sophia’s conversion into a mosque.
The Turkish courts issued a ruling in July 2020 that effectively turned the Hagia Sophia from an interfaith museum into a mosque. Many saw the reconversion as Erdoğan’s attempt to reenergize his Islamist base in the face of declining poll numbers.
During the recent speech, the Turkish president read a “prophetic” poem in which he essentially characterized himself as a new “Islamic conqueror” working on behalf of Turkish Muslims and all Muslims around the world. The translation of the poem by the Orthodox Times reads as follows:
“Hagia Sophia, wonderful temple! Do not worry, the grandchildren of Muhammad the Conqueror will tear down all the idols and turn you back into a mosque. They will cry when they are ready to pray and kneel to pray. The sounds of prayers will once again fill the empty domes. It will be the second Fall. Poets will write epic poems. Prayers will announce it. The sounds of prayers that will be heard from the empty minarets today will be heard again in space. The whole world will think that Muhammad the Conqueror, the Second Conqueror, has risen; this will happen, these days are near, perhaps closer than tomorrow. Thank Allah, we are worthy to reach this tomorrow. You heard the poem and it said it would open. The Hagia Sophia… Is Hagia Sophia open? God has made us worthy. Allah is praised.”
Choosing this particular poem further highlights Erdoğan’s Islamist political agenda coupled with his motivations of violence, which Prophet Muhammad referred to as the lesser jihad. It is unfortunate that these kind of provocations are commonplace in today’s Turkey.