“We should first fill Sultanahmet (Blue Mosque) and then, we’ll see about doing more”. This was Turkish PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s answer to the crowd screaming for the reopening of Hagia Sophia as a mosque, during the inauguration of a mosque in Ortaköy in Constantinople.
Turkish media characterized the Turkish PM’s statement as diplomatic, to all those wishing to turn Hagia Sophia into a mosque.
Accompanied by ministers and local figures, Erdogan participated in the first prayer within the renovated mosque in the part of the city.
After the prayer, Erdogan addressed the assembled people, who were chanting “Hagia Sophia” and told them that next to the big church, there is the Sultanahmet (Blue Mosque), which remains empty of believers. He asked that they must first fill the latter temple, not only for established mass prayers, but also for regular days of worship”.
He had given a similar response last May during his party’s meeting, when deputies of the Party of Justice and Development raised the issue for the first time.
“Sultanahmet is empty. When Sultanahmet is filled, we will discuss the Hagia Sophia issue”, had stated the Turkish PM.
The pressures for opening the Hagia Sophia to Muslim prayer come mainly from the Welfare Party, whose youth had organized a mass Muslim prayer outside the temple. The ruling party’s youth had also partake in the Welfare Party youth’s endeavor.