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Time to Cancel Turkey?

Old Jul 10th, 2020, 07:42 AM
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Time to Cancel Turkey?

"ISTANBUL — President Recep Tayyip Erdogan issued a decree Friday ordering Hagia Sophia to be opened for Muslim prayers, an action likely to provoke international furor around a World Heritage Site cherished by Christians and Muslims alike for its religious significance, stunning structure and as a symbol of conquest." New York Times

Visiting Hagia Sophia was something I'd wanted to do since boyhood and was one of the highlights of our trip to Turkey 10 years ago. Perhaps a tourist boycott would deter the increasingly autocratic Erdogan to proceed cautiously, not covering the brilliant murals and mosaics and allowing non-religious visits.
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Old Jul 10th, 2020, 03:21 PM
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It was built as a Byzantine cathedral, converted to a Catholic church, restored back to an Orthodox cathedral and then changed into a mosque by the Ottomans before being decreed a museum for all by Ataturk. So this is just another step backwards for the structure. Like you, Fra Diavolo, I am glad we went & I really hope they don’t ‘redecorate’.



Last edited by Ian; Jul 10th, 2020 at 03:46 PM.
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Old Jul 11th, 2020, 05:34 AM
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How sad but the good news is that they've promised to keep it open to visitors. I, too, am glad I visited Istanbul when I did. What a lovely, vibrant city. It's one of my favourite places in the world.
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Old Jul 11th, 2020, 06:40 AM
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Most of the Catholic churches serve both as tourist attractions and places of worship.
Vatican, Seville, Krakow, for example.
What is the big deal?
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Old Jul 11th, 2020, 07:46 AM
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>>>What is the big deal?<<<

The last time they did it, they destroyed much of the art, and plastered over the rest.
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Old Jul 11th, 2020, 03:38 PM
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Yes, my concern would be that some of the beautiful artwork which was only recently uncovered would be covered again or destroyed.
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Old Jul 12th, 2020, 10:46 AM
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What are the general rules for tourists in the grand mosques?

Do they allow Western non-believers to visit? Can tourists walk in and out easily and take pictures? Or is there dress code and you have to wash your feet even if you're not going for prayers?

Of course many of the countries in which these great mosques stand are not particularly hospitable to Westerners. The fundamentalists probably see it as some great offense for non-believers to even go in.

Here's a history, how the structure has survived over a millennia and saw empires come and go.

https://arstechnica.com/science/2020...t-happens-now/

UNESCO isn't happy. Do they revoke sites from the Heritage list?
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Old Jul 12th, 2020, 01:43 PM
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I don't see the big deal either, to be honest. Presuming the art work isn't destroyed, of course. But Turkey says it won't be.
A lot of famous churches serve both as places of worship and tourist sites for the art/architecture.

Having said that, I don't trust Erdogan, so who knows what he'll do.

Supposedly Pope Francis is pained/saddened whatever about this which is pretty nervy given how the Catholics have tried to take over ownership of the Mosque/Cathedral in Cordoba Spain away from the government, and the local bishop has banned Muslims from praying there. The Catholic church also wanted to take it over and destroy the arches although that was some centuries ago. But the discrimination against Muslims there is recent (and its history as a church is even questionable). The Church has also tried to erase the word mosque from literature and information about it. I don't really understand how they got so much control of it, as it is.

I've been in Muslim countries and tourists were allowed in mosques, why not, just like any religion ios allowed to visit Christian churches in a lot of cities, for sightseeing. Outside worship hours, of course (frankly, I find it rather appalling the way they allow tourists to wonder around some Catholic churches during services, like Notre Dame. They don't in some cities, though). I've been in mosques in Egypt, they expected tourists to want to see them and it's a part of learning about the culture and place. You sure didn't have to wash your fee where I went (Egypt, Al Azhar Mosque). You did have to take your shoes off and dress modestly, of course. Currently, they require women to wear a head scarf (which I don't get as supposedly that isn't an official part of the religion, but I guess they didn't get that memo), but I don't think you did when I was there back in the 80s. The shoes thing makes sense in terms of dirt, they don't want dirty floors and carpets as people pray on the floor and touch their heads to it.

The reason for the foot washing, it's to purify yourself before praying, it isn't just to enter the building. So as a tourist you aren't going to the mosque for Friday prayers or whatever. A lot of women don't do it at the mosque anyway as the women's facilities and areas in mosques are often not very good, of course, it's very sexist. So they may do it at home before going.
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Old Jul 12th, 2020, 02:35 PM
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Originally Posted by Christina View Post
I don't see the big deal either, to be honest. Presuming the art work isn't destroyed, of course. But Turkey says it won't be.
A lot of famous churches serve both as places of worship and tourist sites for the art/architecture.

Having said that, I don't trust Erdogan, so who knows what he'll do.

Supposedly Pope Francis is pained/saddened whatever about this which is pretty nervy given how the Catholics have tried to take over ownership of the Mosque/Cathedral in Cordoba Spain away from the government, and the local bishop has banned Muslims from praying there. The Catholic church also wanted to take it over and destroy the arches although that was some centuries ago. But the discrimination against Muslims there is recent (and its history as a church is even questionable). The Church has also tried to erase the word mosque from literature and information about it. I don't really understand how they got so much control of it, as it is.

I've been in Muslim countries and tourists were allowed in mosques, why not, just like any religion ios allowed to visit Christian churches in a lot of cities, for sightseeing. Outside worship hours, of course (frankly, I find it rather appalling the way they allow tourists to wonder around some Catholic churches during services, like Notre Dame. They don't in some cities, though). I've been in mosques in Egypt, they expected tourists to want to see them and it's a part of learning about the culture and place. You sure didn't have to wash your fee where I went (Egypt, Al Azhar Mosque). You did have to take your shoes off and dress modestly, of course. Currently, they require women to wear a head scarf (which I don't get as supposedly that isn't an official part of the religion, but I guess they didn't get that memo), but I don't think you did when I was there back in the 80s. The shoes thing makes sense in terms of dirt, they don't want dirty floors and carpets as people pray on the floor and touch their heads to it.

The reason for the foot washing, it's to purify yourself before praying, it isn't just to enter the building. So as a tourist you aren't going to the mosque for Friday prayers or whatever. A lot of women don't do it at the mosque anyway as the women's facilities and areas in mosques are often not very good, of course, it's very sexist. So they may do it at home before going.
You sound like have you have some serious bigotry issues towards Catholicism. Shame on you.
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Old Jul 12th, 2020, 02:44 PM
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For those having trouble understanding the “big deal”, it’s that the Islamic faith prohibits images and representations of people as part of that religion. Stop and think if you truly were confused about this. When have you ever seen an image of a person in a mosque? Right, never. So now that Erdogan is set to appease his fascist base, how do you propose that will use the Hagia Sophia as a functioning mosque when there are human images there? Cover them up during prayer times and uncover them during tourist times? That is probably the scenario we can best hope for. But Erdogan and his party are not ones known for tolerance so I will be very afraid for those beautiful mosaics until proven otherwise.

like others here, Istanbul is my favorite city in the world. I’ve been there twice. I was planning to travel this year through Eastern Europe but that is unlikely to happen since I am a “filthy, diseased American”. So I had been seriously considering a return trip to Istanbul in September. I am now torn. Do I go and support the fascist Erdogan government in the hopes of seeing the Hagia Sophia one more time as it should be? Or do I say goodbye to Istanbul forever and hold onto my good memories? Either option sucks.
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Old Jul 13th, 2020, 07:45 AM
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Originally Posted by Ian View Post
It was built as a Byzantine cathedral, converted to a Catholic church, restored back to an Orthodox cathedral and then changed into a mosque by the Ottomans before being decreed a museum for all by Ataturk. So this is just another step backwards for the structure. Like you, Fra Diavolo, I am glad we went & I really hope they don’t ‘redecorate’.

When was it ever a Catholic Church?
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Old Jul 13th, 2020, 03:27 PM
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After the horrendous sack of Constantinople in the Fourth Crusade in 1204. The knights destroyed a lot of the Byzantine religious bling at HS when they set up the Latin Empire. It went back to an Eastern Orthodox Church after the Byzantine reconquest in 1261.
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Old Jul 14th, 2020, 02:22 AM
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Exactly - 1204 - 1261


https://www.france24.com/en/20200710...der-of-wonders
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Old Jul 14th, 2020, 03:40 AM
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In lockdown, I have jumped into Resurrection Ertugrul series on Netflix, which is set in this time frame. A mammoth 448 x 44 minute episodes, it is the story of the pre-birth of the Ottoman Empire in the 13th century. A big budget Turkish soap opera that is very, very roughly based on historical fact. Ertugrul was the leader of a Turkic nomad tribe & the father of Osman I - the 1st Sultan of the fledgling Ottoman Empire. Lots of heroes, villains & damsels in distress. With a big dose of positive Islamic propaganda throughout, this was a smash hit in Turkey, Pakistan & some other Muslim countries & banned in a few others. So not everybody's cup of tea certainly. In Turkish with English subtitles, it is best to use the fast fwd button frequently to burn through episodes & you can spend an enormous amount of time taking an entertaining quasi-history lesson. I find it an interesting window into the mindset of the Muslim world during their expansion.
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Old Jul 14th, 2020, 01:24 PM
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I guess I was lucky to have visited Istanbul in October, 2014, as things were starting to heat up again (there were bombings shortly thereafter in 2015 and 2016).

Someone asked about going into a mosque as a tourist. There was nothing we needed to do with respect to Hagia Sophia . . . no change of clothing, scarves, etc. for women. However, going into the Blue Mosque, my recollection (which may be a little fuzzy) is that everyone (men and women) had to take off their shoes and put on something they gave you, like a sock or stocking of some sort before being allowed in. No foot washing. And women, of course, were required to wear scarves that covered their heads and shoulders. We were allowed to take pictures. Having to subscribe to following the rules at the Blue Mosque, was worth it, as it was one of the most beautiful interiors I have ever seen.

My guess is those rules will also need to be followed with Hagia Sophia with the change over.
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Old Jul 14th, 2020, 04:31 PM
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The Alhambra. Just saying.
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Old Jul 14th, 2020, 04:36 PM
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Originally Posted by menachem View Post
The Alhambra. Just saying.
Exactly what came to my mind when I read Surfergirl's post . . .
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Old Jul 14th, 2020, 05:46 PM
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Originally Posted by menachem View Post
The Alhambra. Just saying.
One of my favorite places, Granada.

Not only beautiful but if you buy a drink, you get a tapa.
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Old Jul 15th, 2020, 05:24 AM
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Originally Posted by Ian View Post
After the horrendous sack of Constantinople in the Fourth Crusade in 1204. The knights destroyed a lot of the Byzantine religious bling at HS when they set up the Latin Empire. It went back to an Eastern Orthodox Church after the Byzantine reconquest in 1261.
Thanks, I hadn't heard that the crusaders had converted Hagia Sofia into a Catholic Church.
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Old Jul 16th, 2020, 11:39 PM
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Originally Posted by scrb11 View Post
One of my favorite places, Granada.

Not only beautiful but if you buy a drink, you get a tapa.
Shame about the Christian church though. Such an act of wanton destruction
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