So what if the Ottomans shaped the modern world?

So what if the Ottomans shaped the modern world?

May 15, 2021

Erdogan is mesmerized by Calilph Selim but, unlike Machiavelli, he doesn’t fear him; he wants to emulate him

By Pepe Escobar posted with permission and first posted at the Asia Times

Once upon a time in Anatolia, in the late 13th century a Turkic principality – one of many shaped in the wake of the Mongol invasion of the 1240s – consigned the Seljuk Turks to the past and emerged as the Ottoman emirate. It was named after its founder, Osman I.

By the middle of the 15th century, the time of the game-changing conquest of Constantinople by Sultan Mehmet II, the expanding Ottoman empire had absorbed virtually all its neighboring Turkic emirates.

And by the start of the 16th century, what sprang up was a multi-religious and multi-ethnic empire that – pragmatic and tolerant – ruled for four centuries over the Balkans, Anatolia and Southwest Asia.

Talk about a major historical riddle: How did a small principality in the western fringe of what used to be known as Asia Minor turn into what could arguably be defined as Islam’s most important empire? The key to unlocking the riddle may be offered by Sultan Selim I.

God’s Shadow, which in its original English edition (Faber & Faber) is subtitled The Ottoman Sultan Who Shaped the Modern World, may reveal that author Alan Mikhail, chair of the Department of History at Yale, is uniquely qualified to argue the case.

Mehmet II, who with his endless obsession and cunning extinguished the Byzantine empire on the fateful May 29, 1453, when he was only 21, was a larger-than-life figure for peoples of the Mediterranean, the Balkans and Asia Minor.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (Left) during an April 17, 2017, visit to the tomb of Yavuz Sultan Selim, a sultan of the former Ottoman Empire 1512-1520, in Istanbul, a day after Erdogan’s victory in a national referendum. Photo : AFP / Yasin Bulbul / Turkish Presidential Press Office

He bridged Europe and Asia. He refashioned Constantinople, renamed Istanbul, into the capital of the sprawling empire. He lorded over the silk roads from the Black Sea to the Mediterranean. The Fatih (“Conqueror”) assumed mythical proportions east and west – and even branded himself Caesar, heir to Byzantine emperors.

Mehmet II conquered the Balkans in the 1460s, finished off with Genoese trading colonies in Crimea and imposed vassalage over the Crimean Tatar Khanate in 1478. That meant, in practice, turning the Black Sea into a virtual Ottoman lake.

Author Mikhail stresses right at the start that the Ottoman Empire was the most powerful state on earth – more powerful than the Ming dynasty, not to mention the Safavids – for quite some time. It was the largest empire in the Mediterranean since ancient Rome and “the most enduring” in the history of Islam.

Then he sets the crux of the – explosive – thesis he will develop in detail: “It was the Ottoman monopoly of trade routes with the East, combined with their military prowess on land and on sea, that pushed Spain and Portugal out of the Mediterranean, forcing merchants and sailors from these 15th-century kingdoms to become global explorers as they risked treacherous voyages across oceans and around continents – all to avoid the Ottomans.”

This thesis will be extremely unpalatable to a hegemonic (at least for the past 150 years) West, now confronted with its turbulent decline. Mikhail does his best to show how, “from China to Mexico, the Ottoman empire shaped the known world at the turn of the 16th century.”

Obviously ideological, military and economic competition with the Spanish and Italian states – and then Russia, China and other Islamic states – was no holds barred. Still, Mikhail relishes showing how Columbus, Vasco da Gama, Montezuma, Luther, Tamerlan – one and all “calibrated their actions and defined their very existence in reaction to the reach and grasp of Ottoman power.”

Christopher Columbus taking leave of Isabella of Castile and Ferdinand II of Aragon before setting out on his first voyage to the New World, August 8, 1492. Photo: AFP / Ann Ronan Picture Library

Geoeconomic superpower

It takes a lot of balls for a historian employed by an elite American university to offer a self-described “revolutionary” narrative on the role of Islam and the Ottomans in shaping not only the Old World, but also the New World. Mikhail is fully aware of how this will come as “a bitter pill for many in the West.”

Exit Muslims as the “terrorist.” Exit “the rise of the West.” Enter the Ottomans as a civilizing power. Mikhail is adamant: The practice “since the Industrial Revolution and the so-called glories of the 19th century” of stretching European primacy back to Columbus “is a historical absurdity.” The Ottoman empire “struck fear into the world for centuries before it earned its derogatory 19th-century sobriquet, ‘the sick man of Europe.’”

The fact is that, for all its setbacks, the Ottoman Empire – in over 600 years of history – remained the hegemon in the Middle East and one of the most important states in Europe, Africa and Asia until World War I. From 1453 up to the 19th century, the Ottomans remained “at the center of global politics, economics and war.”

Just imagine. Ottoman armies ruled over vast swaths of Europe, Africa and Asia; the most crucial Silk and non-Silk trade corridors; key city hubs along the Mediterranean, the Red Sea, the Black Sea, the Caspian Sea, the Persian Gulf and the Indian Ocean. They ruled over Damascus, Istanbul, Cairo, Jerusalem, Mecca and Medina. That’s a long way from their humble beginnings as sheepherders in desolate trails across Central Asia.

And then there’s the ultimate badass: Sultan Selim.

Mikhail spends a great deal of his narrative carefully setting the stage for the eruption of the quintessentially Machiavellian Selim, even before he became Sultan in 1512. Still in Trabzon, in the Black Sea, as provincial governor, consolidating the imperial forces in the East, by 1492 Selim was fully aware how the alliance between Istanbul and Cairo conditioned European trade in what US neo-cons not long ago called the “Greater Middle East.”

The Ottomans and the Mamluks – whom Selim would later destroy as Sultan – controlled all access to the East from the Mediterranean. This geoeconomic fact by itself destroys the fable of European ascendancy during the Renaissance and the much-lauded “Age of Exploration”; it was all about Ottoman control of trade and commerce.

If anyone in Europe wanted to trade with China and India, they would have to adjust to the Ottoman’s “my way or the highway.” The Venetians tried, and it didn’t work. Genoese Columbus went full highway. Mikhail relishes nothing more than showing how the voyages of Columbus, in so many ways, “were a response to the power of the Ottomans.” They were “the political force that shaped Columbus and his generation more than any other.”

Things get positively heavy metal when Columbus is depicted as a Christian jihadi, as “he used the notion of a global civilizational war between Christendom and Islam to push his case for the Atlantic voyage.” Queen Isabella ended up buying it.

And then it all went downhill, in a literally bloody way, as “the vocabulary of war with Islam became the language of the Spanish conquest in the Americas.” The West conveniently forgets that all indigenous peoples were required (Mikhail’s own italics) to acknowledge that the Catholic Church was the universal power and that their own belief systems were absolutely inferior.

From Selim to Erdogan

Machiavelli was a huge fan of the Ottomans, whom he admired and feared. He was particularly impressed by Selim’s strategic acumen, always prevailing over nearly impossible odds. Machiavelli finished The Prince in the exact same year – 1513 – when Selim eliminated his half-brothers to finally secure the Sultanate, which he had conquered in 1512.

Selim started with a bang – with no less than an economic blockade against the Safavids, outlawing the export of Persian silk from the Ottoman empire. (That trade had been how the Iranians reached the Eastern Mediterranean and the lucrative European markets.

Selim casually hanging out with crocodiles in Egypt. Photo: Miniature included in the book

Selim casually hanging out with crocodiles in Egypt. Photo: Miniature included in the book

Selim’s victory over the Safavids in the Battle of Chaldiran was intertwined with something immensely eventful; the Portuguese capture of ultra-strategic Hormuz in 1515. That was the first European possession in the Persian Gulf. And what a prize: The Portuguese would now have control over shipping to and from the Persian Gulf, as well as a key hub linking to their new colonies on India’s west coast.

After the battle between Christians and Muslims crossed the Atlantic, the stage was set for the next chapter: Ottomans and Portuguese fighting for global power in the Indian Ocean.

Selim was on a roll. First he took Syria – incorporating legendary Damascus and Aleppo. Then he smashed the Mamluks – and that meant not only Cairo but also Jerusalem, Mecca, Medina and even Yemen, with its strategic access to the Indian Ocean and infinite possibilities for Ottoman commerce, starting with a monopoly on the silk trade.

The Selim Sultanate lasted only 8 years, from 1512 to 1520 – with geopolitical tectonic plates moving non-stop. Luther plunged Christianity into a religious civil war. The Ottomans controlled more territory around the Mediterranean than any other power. The European imperial drive hit the Indian Ocean. And then there was the ultimate theological challenge presented by the ultimate Other: Native Americans, north and south. They could not possibly be part of “God’s creation.”

When he died in 1520, Selim – sultan and also caliph – thought that being the ruler of the world’s largest empire was a given. He was, indeed, “God’s shadow on Earth.”

By the end of the last chapter in the book, “American Selim,” Mikhail again tackles the most burning question: why (his italics) Columbus had to cross the Atlantic. In a nutshell: “Hoping for an alliance with the Grand Khan of the East, he aimed to retake Jerusalem and destroy Islam; more prosaically, his voyages promised an end-run around the trade monopolies of the Ottomans and the Mamluks.”

After Columbus arrived in the Americas, Europeans inevitably filtered their experiences “through the lens of their wars with Muslims” and engaged “in a new version of their very old Crusades, a new kind of Catholic jihad.” Nevertheless, “Islam would continue to forge the histories of both Europe and the New World and the relationship between the two.”

After so much drama, Mikhail and the book’s editors still manage to present an outstanding image in the next before the last page: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan ceremoniously staring at Selim’s tomb in Istanbul in 2017, after winning a constitutional referendum that expanded his powers enormously.

Like Machiavelli, Erdogan is mesmerized by Selim. But, unlike Machiavelli, he does not fear him; he wants to emulate him. What – weaponized – imperial dreams still lurk in the mind of the neo-Ottoman sultan?

“Hagia Sophia” by Sheikh Imran Hosein

May 08, 2021

Constantinople & the world – the real story

Constantinople & the world – the real story

October 16, 2020

by Giorgi Nektarios Selimos for the Saker Blog

Please read my words & think about what has happened.
Normal people are not to blame here it is the sin of Greed & Lust for money & power that is responsible. If you truly believe in Christ nothing is lost. But after you read this you must decide what to do as you will know the Truth & God will not hold you blameless.

The Throne of the Pope is an interesting case as there is no evidence in the Bible or any Historical religious texts there was ever 1 single Bishop that should or did preside over all other churches in Christianity.
The Word Pope in the context as the Universal leader is never mentioned by any of the Apostles in the Bible or any Bishops from the 5 churches of the Apostles during the Time of Christ on the Earth.

The 1st Bishop of the church in Rome was Pius 1 (142-155) & he never mentioned the Word Pope or ever referred to being the Universal leader of Christians during his service to the Lord & the people of Rome.

For the 1st 1000 years after Christ the Church was essentially one body that had 5 Historical Patriarchal Centres in Strategic locations as advised to by Christ himself & the Mutual agreement of all of the 12 apostles.
As seen in the Bible the Apostles worked as a team with their churches & consulted each other on troubling issues from time to time & were always in full communion with each other.

This is not to say that there was no differences as is clearly exhibited in the Bible when Apostle Paul argues with Peter for not wanting to except ALL people into the Church as Christians. Paul argued with Peter that Jewish laws & customs should NOT be applied to non Jews in order for them to be accepted in the Church. Peter thought that EVERYONE HAD to follow Jewish Laws & customs to be accepted by Christ.

In the end the Apostles agreed with Paul & Peter accepted the decision & so Christianity was able to be spread to the whole world. This documented event in the Bible clearly shows that NO ONE Apostle was the Supreme leader, and that all Apostles worked together in their faith to spread the Words of Christ.

From the Original Christian churches in Jerusalem, Antioch(Syria), Rome(Italy), Alexandria(Egypt), & Constantinople(Greece) the Apostles Spread the word of God. But were persecuted & tortured & murdered by Romans & non Believers .

In 306 Constantine the Roman Emperor had fought his way to power in Rome & had managed to become Emperor for all the Roman Empire. Early on his reign Constantine was a beneficiary of a miracle of Christ
( Battle of the Milvian Bridge) & became a firm believer in Christ & Christ’s teachings & ended the persecution of all Christians.

In Honour of his new found faith in Christ, Constantine decided to built a new Capital for the Roman Empire in the Eastern predominately Christian Greek area of the Roman Empire. He would name this new spectacular city Constantinople & build the Worlds Grandest Church there ” The Church of the Apostles” or “Ayia Sophia’ it was laden with Gold, Marble, jewels, & the finest materials in all mankind it was spectacular in appearance & magnificent in stature. The Russian Royal Delegation would later describe it to Prince Vladimir of Russia as: “When we entered this place of worship we did not know if we were in Heaven or on Earth”

Emperor Constantine would seek to Unite his empire in Christian faith under this Orthodox Church.
In fact Constantine was incredibly successful & Christianity flourished under his rule.
In 325 Constantine established the Council of Nicea , where all Religious matters of the 5 original Apostolic Churches were to be worked out together . Emperor Constantine set up a system where all the Bishops of each church would work together under the Orthodox Church & have full communion with each other.

It was a good democratic system where no one Bishop or Politician could rule alone & where the Emperor would still retain authority of the whole Roman Empire.

Constantine wisely understood that in order for the Roman Empire to remain Strong he needed to keep the Church strong unlike politics this was the one way he could unite the citizens of the Empire in a good manner. To be certain, differences did occur in some religious matters from time to time but ultimately were resolved or not allowed to interfere with the continuation of the Church. Such was a dispute with the Nicene creed, the Roman church Bishop had disagreed with the Orthodox church Bishops of the East on this. The Roman Bishop refused to agree with any of the other Bishops on this issue. So they just defered the matter & nothing was officially changed until the Great Schism of the Roman church.

During his reign, Emperor Constantine built St Peters Basilica in Rome directly over the Apostle Peter’s Tomb. This was done so as to greatly honour the Apostle Peter who had spent much of his time Preaching in Rome .
It took 30 years to build starting in 326. It was a grand Church but not close in stature to the Headquarters Church Constantine had built in the Eastern part of the empire in his new capital of Constantinople.

After Emperor Constantine’s death his successor’s would succumb to political pressure from the Rich & Old Guard Romans who wanted to shift government power back to Rome.
The Political Elite had seen how Constantine had managed to gain peace, great power & riches through the Unification of the empire under one church & most certainly were thinking of a way that they too could emulate his success. But they did not want to operate from this new Roman Empire Capital of Constantinople.

They were desperate to find a way to make Rome the power centre once again. The Great Orthodox Church that Constantine had built & united his empire in Christianity with, was caught in the middle of this political struggle with Western Roman elites & a lot of power & money was at stake. Not to mention many Roman politicians still found it difficult not worshipping the Old Roman Idols from previous Emperors & retaining the mentality of worshiping any Idol they believed would make them rich & powerful.
They were not too concerned about true salvation, much like many of today’s politicians who clearly pretend to be whatever they need to be in order to get elected. They were more interested in Power & money & sex. At the same time the Church in Rome also got caught up in this political power struggle.

Between religious disagreement with the four original eastern orthodox churches & the political pressure to undo Constantinople as the Roman capital, The Roman Church & Bishops were greatly effected & started to break away from the other 4 remaining Patriarchs of the Original church.

During this time the Roman Church bishops suddenly & mysteriously produced
“The Donation of Constantine Decree” a brilliantly forged Imperial Decree in which the now dead Emperor Constantine transfers authority over Rome & all the Western part of the Empire to the Pope .

In this fake decree Constantine purportedly agreed his throne would only retain Imperial Authority in the Eastern part of the Roman empire & rule only from his new imperial capital of Constantinople & was also agreed the Pope of the Roman Church could have control of the rest of the Empire.
The Forged Imperial Decree claimed it was a gift to Pope Sylvester 1 for teaching Emperor Constantine about Christianity , baptizing him, & curing him of Leprosy.
This Forged Decree continued to be of great use to the Roman Church & was used by successive Popes to solidify power acquire more territory & gain more converts.
This document was also used in the Roman Empire as a Propaganda tool for the Roman Church to claim Universal Supremacy over the remaining 4 unified apostolic orthodox churches.

The 1st Pope who had the audacity to use this Forged document in an official act against all the other churches was Pope Leo IX who in an officially recorded letter to the Patriarch of Constantinople in 1054 declared to the remaining 4 Churches of the Apostles that Indeed it was the Roman Church who clearly had Universal Supremacy over all Christians as was the proof under the seal of the Emperor Constantine as well as under a loosely translated reference (Matthew:16:18 ) made in the Bible. The Roman Church then demanded that everyone bow down to them & except this for fact.

When the Orthodox Patriarchs refused, the Roman Pope split away & officially created the Roman Catholic Church independent of the Orthodox churches, thus creating new religious decrees such as celibacy for clergy, no divorce, & the new revelation that the Pope was the infallible Vicar of Christ as well as numerous other new rules that were never part of the original church.

This was the year 1054 & the Roman Church had now officially split with the remaining 4 Original Apostolic Orthodox churches.
It was to be known as the great Schism.
The Roman Church was now officially alone & the 1st church in History of Christianity to split from the remaining Apostolic Orthodox churches.

It was now the 4 Original Orthodox Patriarchal Churches remaining as one, just as they still remain almost 1,000 years later today. The 4 remaining church’s managed to come to an agreement together & agreed not to bow down to the self proclaimed Universal Supremacy of the Roman Pope & all his new rules. It was only due to Christ’s miraculous enlightenment that the Orthodox Bishops did not believe the lies of the Pope & his forged decree.
The Original Apostolic Churches were not lost.

Eventually Pope Pius in 1453 admitted that the decree was a forgery & just as it had suddenly appeared, it was suddenly never seen again & nor ever mentioned or used again by the Roman Church & Pope.
By this time though the Muslim Armies of the East had gained horrific strength & were ravaging the Eastern Parts of the Roman Empire. This area was precisely where the majority of Christians still lived & was the heart of the remaining Apostolic Orthodox Churches.

In 1421 the Officials in Constantinople sent word to the Rome that they needed more help from the Roman Soldiers stationed in the West as the Muslims were barbarically slaughtering people & forcing them to refute Christianity & convert to Islam under the sharp blades of Muslim swords.
Constantinople was clearly still part of the Roman Empire but over the years had developed strained relations with the Roman Government & the Roman Church. The Orthodox Church in Constantinople had become a sore spot for many Roman political & Church leaders. The request for military assistance reached Rome but It was decided by the Roman Government & Pope not to send help to the East & let the current army reserves there try & fend for themselves.

The Emperor & the Pope sensing political opportunity to be finally rid of Constantinople & have Rome return to its rightful position of glory decided to fortify the Western empire & protect it at all costs , the Muslims were never able to get through to Rome & the Popes Roman Church was unscathed.

In Constantinople & the Eastern part of the Empire this resulted in the Unholy Slaughter & Barbaric killings of Bishops, Priests & Christian men of all ages, Women were raped & brutally murdered, children taken into slavery & Christian Churches destroyed or turned into Muslim Mosques including the Grand Church Constantine had built “the Ayia Sophia” which now has once again has been converted from museum to a mosque in 2020 .

The previous Pope John Paul was the 1st & only Pope to acknowledge this great sin against humanity & ask forgiveness from the Orthodox believers in Christ for what the Roman Church did to their ancestors.

This Mass slaughter of the Eastern Roman Empire had now resulted in the Roman Church being the only functioning church left in the Empire. With the Muslims effectively killing all Orthodox Bishops & priests & not allowing any remaining survivors freedom of religion the Roman Catholic church was poised to become the #1 Church in the world.

From this point on the Roman Catholic church did not look back & eventually embarked on the infamous Catholic Crusades & Witch Burnings. The Pope was finally free to spread the Roman brand of religion to the world unopposed.
Catholicism became the #1 Church & religion in the World & The Pope’s Dream of undisputed power in all matters was now realized, all thanks to the mass slaughter of the Orthodox Christians by the Muslims.

It was the Russians & Ukrainians during this bleak time for the Orthodox church that were able to keep the 4 Original Apostolic Churches memory & Traditions alive & in fact rebuild many exact replicas of these great churches in their countries including the Ayia Sophia which was rebuilt in Kiev, Ukraine & still stands to this day as an Orthodox church.

The Muslims were never successful in Conquering Russia & the Orthodox Church flourished in Russia. Attaining still to this day the highest number of churches per capita in the world. Even during the times of communism this fact did not change.
That is how strong the Orthodox faith was & is today. The Orthodox Church of Constantinople where Constantine had ended Christian persecutions & started the flourishing of the Christianity movement was gone…..

But the faith remained.

The Roman Church had now decided it was time to make St Peters Basilica the New centre of Christianity. Pope Julius II embarked on a grand reconstruction plan. Pope Julius II began by destroying Constantine’s original Church of St Peter & rebuilding one on top of the original Vatican grave yard .
Pope Julius also had All the original Orthodox Crosses from St Peter’s Church removed & replaced with new Latin crosses. The Pope then gloriously installed the famous Heliopolis Obelisk courtesy of the evil & debaucherous Roman Emperor Caligula.

This became a Grand church and was thereafter widely publicized as the Greatest Church on earth & the new centre of Christianity.
Later on in the mid 1930’s the Dictator & Ally of Adolf Hitler, Mussolini would add a Grand Monumental Avenue leading to the Piazza. Only the Pope is allowed to celebrate Catholic Mass on this Alter & no one else.

I want to make it absolutely clear that the Roman Catholic believers are not at fault for this lust for power & money in the history of the Roman Catholic Church. Most Catholic believers don’t know any of this.

The Roman Catholic worshipers clearly believe in Christ, but unfortunately have been deceived by there church leaders & Roman politicians over the centuries. All in a lustful quest for power & money.
I believe that it is possible some Popes wanted to stop, but the deceit had gone too far & rather than expose it & risk dangerous consequences they probably asked Christ for forgiveness & just carried on the lies.

Other Popes mysteriously died or were removed .
I truly do admire the previous Pope John Paul for his courage to acknowledge the great Schism & ask for forgiveness. I think he was a good man & the only Pope who came close to reconciling with the Original Church. But Tragically by the time he had gotten to this point he died.

I am worried that many Catholics are starting to lose their faith in Christ because of all the repeated sexual scandals & of their clergy & the court ordered payouts forcing many churches into bankruptcy as well as many of the negative movies being made about their church.
The Catholic believers must understand that this has nothing to do with Christ & it is all the doings of their Leaders.
I want them to know that they were once part of the Orthodox Church & they should consider coming back rather than giving up.

Turkey to convert another historical church into mosque

By News Desk -2020-08-22

Chora church Istanbul 1, August 12, 2019 Image donated to Wikimedia UK by Mark Lowen, former BBC correspondent in Turkey.

BEIRUT, LEBANON (8:45 A.M.) – On Friday, the Turkish Religious Affairs Administration confirmed that the Chora Monastery in Istanbul will be converted into a mosque for prayer.

A representative of the administration told Russia’s Sputnik, “this building, which was stationed in it until 2019, a museum and its affiliated institutions, will be handed over, according to a presidential decree, to the Department of Religious Affairs of our circuit.”

It is noteworthy to mention that the Chora Monastery is a Byzantine church in Istanbul, which was converted 74 years ago into a museum, and it is one of the oldest surviving Byzantine monuments that have witnessed several eras. It is located in the western part of Fatih municipality.

The church was converted into a mosque for a period of 434 years before it was converted (the mosque) in 1945 into a museum. In 2019, the Supreme Administrative Court – the State Council, in Turkey, decided to convert the museum into a mosque.

The presidential decree came in July of this year to support this trend. The museum (mosque) contains many paintings and mosaics, and its building is divided into three main sections: the entrance hall or nave, the main body of the church, and a side chapel, and the building has six domes.

In a related context, the Supreme Administrative Court in Turkey had annulled, on July 10, the decision of the Council of Ministers issued on November 24, 1934 to convert the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul from a mosque to a museum.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced that he had signed a decree to convert the Hagia Sophia museum into a mosque.

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Censorship: Dictator Erdogan Continues to Block Syria News in Turkey

August 7, 2020 Arabi Souri

Recept Tayyeb Erdogan - Turkey Sultan Wannabe

The Turkish madman and Sultan wannabe Recep Tayyeb Erdogan continues to block our site Syria News in Turkey, or better call it Erdoganstan, the site has been blocked since 2013.

A thread on Reddit reminded me of the blocking in Turkey, it’s been a while I didn’t check with our visitors from Turkey whether they can access the site normally in different regions of Turkey, do they need to use a VPN to access the site? I’d highly appreciate if we get the response in the comments.

This is the thread on Reddit of Turkish visitors who can’t access the site normally and need a VPN to override Erdogan’s censorship, yet still one of them, as I understood from the translator, he still couldn’t access the site:

Censorship: Erdogan continues to ban Syria News in Turkey

I used Google Translator to try to confirm that the discussion is about the censorship of Syria News in Turkey, and this is what it returned:

Turkish citizens don't have access to Syria News
  • Does the site syrianews.cc anti-AKP banned pro-Assad regime in Turkey?
  • I saw a news on Social Media, a link was given to this site. I said I’ll read, I clicked but “mafiş”. I used a VPN, it was turned on. Now I can’t say the problem is on my computer.
  • It doesn’t open for me

Obviously, the madman and loyal servant to the worldwide Political Zionism movement, Erdogan is working hard to fulfill his role as the “leading player in the Greater Israel Project” – in his own words, has managed in a short period of time to reverse most achievements Turkey has accomplished since its evolvement from the most hated Ottoman Sultanate to a modern country a century ago, now he’s doubling down on reviving that anti-Islamic criminal empire that fought fake religious wars in the name of Islam against everybody else.

Erdogan: ‘George W. Bush Assigned Me the Leading Regional Role in the Greater Israel Project.

Erdogan Intimidating Syrianews.cc to Silence Us

The Ottoman sultanate, and contrary to the propaganda its defenders try to spread, is a complete 180 degrees twist from Islamic teachings. This can easily be established by their ditching of the Arabic language, the language of the Holy Quran, as the state’s formal language and enforcing their Turkish language on the Muslims and others in the countries they invaded and destroyed.

The Ottomans infiltrated and then collapsed the last real Islamic Caliphate the Abbassid based in Baghdad, and continued to sideline the Damascus center of the former Omayyad Caliphate. They moved the center of their ‘Sultanate’ to Constantinople which they conquered and called it Astana then Istanbul, the furthest they could reach from centers of Islam in Mekkah, Medina, Quds (Jerusalem), Damascus, Fustat (Cairo), and Baghdad.

The Turks – Ottomans have great hatred towards Arab Muslims manifested in their constant invasions of other countries using Muslim youth from the Arab world to fight the useless bloodiest wars of the Sultan, not to spread Islam, but to make it a hated religion. Islam strictly prohibits invading and attacking other countries that did not pose any threat or invade Muslim countries. The only other context where Islam permits an attack against another country is when it prohibits its Muslim people from practicing their prayers, even in this case, if there’s a peace treaty with that country Islam prohibits attacking it. This explains how Islam easily and peacefully spread in regions as far as China and Indonesia without any war.

The Ottomans also worked hard to stop the advance of the Arab Muslim territories from science and education in all its fields and to prevent it completely, the succeeded in making more than 90% of the population of the regions they conquered illiterate. They stole the books to their capital, they oppressed, harshly the people of the regions under their control. That’s all very much un-Islamic and against a main teaching of Prophet Muhammad PBUH.

Their grandchildren now fighting freedom of speech, oppressing journalism, and attacking all their neighbors and beyond is not surprising, seems it runs in their genes.

We call on all governments of the world to block Erdogan’s propaganda sites in their countries until he allows freedom of speech back in his, after all, his propaganda sites are only used to recruit anti-Islamic terrorists in your countries.

All those who claim they are helping the Syrian people and shout their lungs out that they want us to gain freedoms we don’t have and democracy we lack, and to distribute our resources better, are the same ones who ban our voices, block our contributions, they jail their own citizens who do not align with their criminal policies, and steal our resources, burn our food, and prevent others from trading with us or even help us.

Trump Bombs Syrian Wheat Fields while Fighting COVID ‘Enemy’ at Home

Local Farmers Block Stolen Syrian Wheat Shipment heading to Erdogan

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Nobody is Talking about the Sanctions against Syria!

Erdogan Thugs Arrest 61 Teachers in Ankara

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Paying it forward – Erdogan style

Paying it forward – Erdogan style

July 20, 2020

by Ghassan and Intibah Kadi for the Saker Blog

With all eyes globally poised at COVID-19 and the impending economic meltdown, Black-Lives-Matter activism, and the protests in the USA and some Western countries, little attention is given to the rise of a potentially more formidable religious fundamentalism base for ISIS-style and orientation than ISIS itself; and indications are pointing to this happening right now, in today’s Turkey.

Al-Qaeda and ISIS are/were rogue organizations with relatively little resources, little prowess, and no international standing to offer them a safe haven under which to hide and protect themselves from the wrath of the world, so to speak.

But this was not the case for the Saudis over the last few decades. Saudi Arabia is an internationally recognized political entity, a member of the United Nations, a G-20 member with enormous wealth and a commodity that the world needs; oil. Saudi Arabia used its dollar power to spread the fundamentalist Wahhabi version of Islam based on the interpretations and teachings of Ibn Taymiyyah.

The Saudis spent billions of dollars, tens and even perhaps hundreds of billions building religious schools and mosques throughout the entire globe. They sponsored, fostered and abetted preachers, including highly controversial violent radical preachers in order to promote their version of Islam. They financed and equipped most fundamentalist terror groups, all the way initially from the Afghani Mujahideen, the Somali Al-Shabab, to the Nigerian Boku Haram; just to name a few. Their program commenced in the late 1960’s, during the reign of Saudi King Faisal who initially wanted to eradicate the growing doctrine of Marxism in the Muslim World.

And when the Saudis believed they had it made, when they felt the road was paved and all obstacles removed, they launched the multi-billion dollar attack on Syria.

By then, fundamentalist Sunni Muslim youth across the globe were banking on Saudi leadership and had put all of their faith and hope in them to lead the Muslim World towards a new era in which Wahhabi Islam was expected to make a series of gains on the global arena; with a covert intention to gain world control.

As the Saudis were beginning to fail in fulfilling their promise, ISIS made its mark in the minds of Muslim youth when world media aired videos of ISIS tanks in the streets and main squares of Mosul; Iraq’s second largest city. Just before and after the fall of Mosul, the advance of ISIS looked unstoppable; reminiscent of the bygone days of Muslim conquest and glory, as perceived by many sympathetic Muslim youth.

It was not a surprise therefore, that when ISIS leader/Caliph Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi called for a Jihad in 2013, he not only rounded up the fundamentalist Sunni sector already radicalized, but he also managed to charm other previously moderate Sunnis who were amazed at his achievements.

It must be remembered here that in as far as Muslim religious battles and conquests are concerned, perhaps the last such great conquest of them all in the Western hemisphere, was the Ottoman conquest of Constantinople in 1453. But this conquest of Ottoman Sultan Mehmet II was the result of a huge effort, strategic planning, determination, patience, perseverance and the ability to employ the best in the world in terms of weapon development and specifically cannon manufacturing.

With the Saudi failure in Syria and its utter inability to score any victory in Yemen against all odds that favoured its highly privileged position, Saudi Arabia began to lose its stature as the leading nation of Muslim fundamentalism.

Enter Erdogan.

As I have written many times before, Erdogan is a combination of a religious fundamentalist zealot and a Turkish nationalist. He also has his own egocentric agendas, aspiring to be a mega Muslim leader and an empire builder.

In his quest for leadership, he has taken the role of an opportunist, a blackmailer and a scavenger, among other things.

As an opportunist, he rode on the anti-Syria bandwagon and walked the Qatari-Saudi talk. They flooded him with money and promises. He opened his borders with Syria to the terrorists they funded.

Later on, he used the Syrian refugees in Turkey to blackmail the EU with, opening the floodgate of refugees at will and demanding financial bribes, mainly from Germany, to close the gates after receiving his ransom price, courtesy of the lack of wisdom and short-sightedness of Angela Merkel.

As a scavenger, he is capitalizing on what the Saudis have invested in, to his own benefit.

Erdogan promised his supporters back in 2011 to pray in the Omayyad Mosque in Damascus after defeating Syrian President Assad, but he failed. He promised Turkish people to have ‘zero problems’ internally and externally. He failed. He expected to force Russia into accepting his terms prior to the 15th of March 2020 meeting, and he also failed. He was hoping to score a swift victory in Libya, and he is clearly failing.

What he fails to recognize is that he already is biting off more than he can chew, yet he is preparing to bunker down in Azerbajian.

The man is desperate for a win. There is no better score he can mark on the board than the equivalent of Sultan Mehmet II’s conquest of Constantinople; albeit take two.

The big difference here is that prior to the fall of Constantinople, it was the capital of the Byzantine Empire and its fall was the result of a military defeat at the hands of the Ottomans. Oddly enough however, the Erdogan propaganda machine is portraying the change of status of Hagia Sophia from a museum to a mosque as a great achievement. His supporters are chanting slogans claiming that turning Hagia Sophia into a mosque is tantamount to a conquest that was predicted in the Hadith.

Something must be amiss here. It is either that those supporters do not know that Constantinople/Istanbul had already been under Muslim/Turkish rule for more than five centuries, it is either that they don’t understand what conquest means, or that they are simply trying to festoon Erdogan with someone else’s achievements.

The real reason is more sinister. Erdogan has not been able to score any decisive military victory in all of his gambles, hence he decided to capitalize on the work of his ancestors. Ottoman Sultan Mehmet II took Constantinople after a long journey of strategic planning, but Erdogan thinks he can exhume the remains of vestiges of bygone glory and cloak himself with remnants of slogans of historic milestones and call them his own, thereby reclaiming an icon already under his control, and then audaciously call himself an all-time victor. Instead of having to go to battle to prove his worth, he chose the convenience of the stroke of a pen, and voila, he transformed himself to an instant great Muslim Fatih/conqueror. This is historic plagiarism at its worst.

In essence, in claiming such a great victory over Hagia Sophia, Erdogan has ‘photoshopped’ a triumph based on a fabricated virtual reality that is aimed to win him more support from the fundamentalist Sunni Muslim street; one that is least driven by rationality.

In all of this, Erdogan has not only benefited from the ground work of the Wahhabi Saudis he is fundamentally opposed to as being a Muslim Brotherhood man, but with his understanding of how to manipulate the vulnerable minds of Muslim youth, all the monies the Saudis have spent have inadvertently turned into a pay-it-forward scheme that he hopes will elevate him to the top of the Muslim World hierarchy.

Thus far, manipulating those vulnerable minds both domestically and within the broader Muslim World has been the only area in which Erdogan has been successful.

That said, the difference in international clout between Al-Qaeda/ISIS and the Erdogan leadership is much larger than that of such organizations and the untouchable Saudi Arabia. Turkey is not only a state, a member of the UN, a member of the G-20, but it is also a NATO member with a huge army.

But unlike the Saudis who do not have any history of strategic planning, technological prowess and entrepreneurial achievements other than paying foreigners to build them palaces, Turkey can play a more pernicious role, after all, it is a nation that has had a long history of empire building; and if and when Turkey decides to rise in a fundamentalist way, the world must take notice.

Under the protection of the above, and knowing that the West will not deal with any part of Turkey like it did with Tora Bora, Erdogan feels at liberty to incrementally convert the public school system into a fundamentalist one, but according to an Erdogan propaganda video, with its Arabic captions designed to recruit support from the Arab Sunni world, he indicates he is building the army of the future for the ‘Ummah’ by radicalizing the youth via the re-vamped schools. The Youtube has been removed, but here’s a screenshot of it.

In an article published nearly two years ago in the NYT, Erdogan’s plan of changing over the education system into a religious one is well presented. Public schools are systemically replaced by the religious Imam Hatip schools, of which Erdogan himself is a graduate. Whilst those schools teach regular subjects, around 50% of which are religious, and a student must pass those subjects before he/she can graduate. With this approach in fact, Erdogan could be leading Turkey into not only becoming a theological state, but also a nation that does not have enough technocrats and STEM graduates at a time when he is trying to build an empire and an advanced army. What is also of note is that affluent secular Turkish parents will send their children to private, non-religious schools, and the new generation of doctors, engineers and teachers will be mainly comprised of them.

In a propaganda video, a noisy and loud Erdogan supporter makes a statement saying that whoever stood up for the victory of Hagia Sophia will do the same for the mosques of Jerusalem, Cordoba (in Spain), Yemen, Mecca and Medina.

The main danger of Erdogan, globally speaking, is that he understands both of the fundamentalist Muslim as well as the liberal Western minds, but the West does not have this full understanding; no doubt to its own peril. Until he is either stopped, or falls on his own sword, he will continue to see the world as open slather for his fundamentalist and expansive adventures, because his mind is set in stone in the age of conquests and religious glory.

Links: Erdogan’s Plan to Raise a ‘Pious Generation’ Divides Parents in Turkey

The Pendulum Swings Again: the Desecration of Hagia Sophia

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The Pendulum Swings Again: the Desecration of Hagia Sophia ...

Stephen Karganovic

July 18, 2020

The Turkish President should have consulted the prophecies of St. Paisius of the Holy Mountain rather than whatever kitaps he was reading before embarking on his risky provocation. In plain Greek, several decades ago St. Paisius was educating Turkish leaders about the sequence of events that the reconversion of Hagia Sophia would set in motion: “When the cathedral of Hagia Sophia is turned into a mosque, Turkey will disintegrate”. He also added reassuringly, for the benefit of his audience, that “I will not see that happen, but you will.” The saint left us for better pastures in 1994. As a footnote to his vision, he also noted that in the ensuing turmoil Constantinople would remain under Russian control for some time before again being returned to Greece. When and if that happens, it does not exactly sound from the tenor of his prophesy that it will revert to just being a museum.

If Mr Erdogan was so keen on tinkering with the status of this major Orthodox holy place, instead of pursuing short-sighted electoral advantage in a state presumably without a future, he should have done better had he chosen – as Americans are fond of saying –to be on the right side of history. He could have done that simply by returning the temple to the religious community which erected it and to which it rightfully belongs.

But, of course, it would be fatuous to expect from a mere politician with declining ratings a gesture of such dazzling magnanimity.

Hagia Sophia was built and consecrated as an Orthodox place of worship in the 6th century by the Eastern Roman Emperor Justinian I. It is a structure of great architectural beauty and even greater symbolic value for world Orthodoxy, as its prime cathedral. Upon the conquest of Constantinople and demise of the Byzantine empire in 1453, it was turned into a mosque by the commander of the conquering army, sultan Mehmed II, and functioned in that capacity until 1934, when the reformist President of the Turkish Republic, Kemal Ataturk, made it a museum. The magnificent structure is under the protection of UNESCO (for whatever that is worth) and is the most visited historical site in Turkey.

What is the significance of the second forced reconversion of the Orthodox cathedral of Hagia Sophia into a mosque? It has to do entirely with internal Turkish politics. It is part of a larger design of the current rulers to reconfigure Turkey back from a secular republic to a resurgent neo-Ottoman state, reinforced with a strong religious identity. Given that the local economy is in poor shape and that the government’s foreign policy initiatives have been generally unsuccessful across the board, descending to religious demagoguery is a more or less natural and predictable recourse. For Orthodox Christians and, hopefully, civilized people of all backgrounds this crude reassertion of the right of conquest, targeting not material goods suitable for pillage, but the spiritual patrimony of one of the great world religious traditions, is nothing short of an act which constitutes the fusion of vandalism and blasphemy.

Of course, it could also be said with some justice, this issue is larger than Erdogan and will outlive him. It is clothed in the garb of a regular court order invalidating Ataturk’s earlier decree, and it was confirmed by a cabinet decision after a meeting lasting all of 17 minutes. As far as provocations go, it could also be argued that in terms of bellicosity it is far less dangerous than shooting down a Russian fighter jet in Syria. Also, as worldly logic might have it, the Hagia Sophia ceased to function as a consecrated church and has not served as consecrated Orthodox Cathedral for more than 550 years. Even before the Ottomans arrived it was ransacked and desecrated during the Western Fourth Crusade, and was then turned into a Roman Catholic cathedral during the Latin occupation of the city. Its history has been long and harsh. A friend of mine has argued that “frankly at least as a mosque it will serve as place of worship and fulfil a spiritual and religious function and not be a tourist attraction, which is a greater desecration, literally speaking.”

“Buildings are buildings,” he has asserted, “they are monuments to faith but no substitute for living faith or a living church which is the Body of Christ. [In the large sense, he does have a point there.] This will only happen when Hagia Sophia is reconsecrated, Orthodox Liturgy is held, the sacred mysteries enacted, and of course when the Eucharist is served once again.”

All these, arguably, are good points. But they miss the emotions this symbolically charged act (going to its core, beyond short-term and short-sighted electoral consideration) evokes among the Balkan Orthodox who still have vivid collective memories of Ottomanism (never mind its neo- variety that is being reinvented today). Nor do they fully take into account the emotions of the Russian Orthodox believers whose faith goes back, in a direct historical line, to that very spot in Constantinople where Vladimir’s bedazzled emissaries, while observing the religious services and magnificent decorations, wondered whether they were on earth or in heaven.

So besides the purely practical and realpolitik aspects to this, there is also a much deeper dimension that challenges Orthodoxy to its core. Its chief representative in Constantinople, the “Ecumenical Patriarch” with a plethora of impressive titles but hardly any flock, a man who few would be so naïve as to regard as a designated vessel of the Holy Spirit, but who certainly is an agent and close collaborator of Western intelligence services to whom he owes his precarious position in an increasingly hostile environment, has been resoundingly silent. Shockingly, Patriarch Bartholomew has been hiding in his Fanar rabbit hole while controversy over what should be his main cathedral has been raging all around him. He is more concerned, one imagines, about avoiding a potential indictment for involvement in the Turkish coup attempt several years ago than in reclaiming the jewel of his ecclesiastical heritage or at least protesting for the record its renewed desecration. The setting up of a false and heretical “church” in the Ukraine under his patronage was apparently a matter he thought more pressing and deserving of his public attention that an outrage to his communion being perpetrated literally in his back yard.

رسائل «الفتح الثاني»: آيا صوفيا بوابة إردوغان إلى «العالميّة»

رسائل «الفتح الثاني»: آيا صوفيا بوابة إردوغان إلى «العالميّة»
ما يحاوله إردوغان هو الانتقاص من هالة مصطفى كمال أتاتورك شخصيّاً (أ ف ب )

الأخبار

محمد نور الدين 

الإثنين 13 تموز 2020

لا تشبه «لحظة آيا صوفيا» أي حادثة أخرى في تاريخ سلطة حزب «العدالة والتنمية». كانت لحظة تحمل ذهنية قومية – دينية بامتياز، اختزلها إردوغان، بخطبته العثمانية، مساء السبت. وإذا كانت عمليات «صغيرة»، مثل «درع الفرات» أو عفرين أو «نبع السلام» أو إدلب، أو حتى ليبيا، بابَ إردوغان إلى العرب، فإن آيا صوفيا كانت بوابته إلى العالمبالتأكيد، كان الرئيس التركي رجب طيب إردوغان يعرف مسبقاً بقرار مجلس الشورى. فكل الأعضاء يدورون في فلك حزب «العدالة والتنمية»، لذا جاء القرار بالإجماع. وبناءً على ذلك، أصدر إردوغان فوراً مرسوم تحويل متحف آيا صوفيا إلى جامع. وبعد ساعات قليلة، كان يوجّه «خطبة الفتح الثانية للقسطنطينية» للأتراك والعالمين المسيحي والمسلم. خطبة ما كانت لتُستولد كما جاءت عليه لولا أيام وأسابيع من الغوص في التاريخ جهد خلالها كاتبوها لإقناع الجمهور بـ«الشرعية» التاريخية والفقهية لقرار اعتبار آيا صوفيا مسجداً.

بخطوة إلغاء وضع آيا صوفيا متحفاً وتحويله إلى جامع، يتحدى إردوغان الجميع.

على الصعيد الداخلي:

1-

هي خطوة ضمن مسار بدأ مع إردوغان من أجل تعزيز الطابع الديني للدولة والمجتمع، والذي كان التعليم أحد مجالاته الأساسية. وهو مسار متدرج لن يتأخر كثيراً في الإعلان عن بلوغه خط النهاية في وقت ليس ببعيد. وقد طفق الكتّاب المتدينون يقومون بحملة واسعة دفاعاً عن الخطوة، معتبرين القرار كسراً للأغلال التي كبّلوا بها تركيا منذ مئة عام، فيما أوعزت رئاسة الشؤون الدينية إلى كل الجوامع في تركيا لإقامة صلاة الشكر على استعادة جامع آيا صوفيا. كذلك تجرى الاستعدادات لتغيير معالم آيا صوفيا من الداخل وطمس الأيقونات والرسوم وغير ذلك من رموز دينية مسيحية (عبر تكنولوجيا ضوئية) ليكون المكان ذا مظهر ديني إسلامي صرف.

2-

هي ضربة أخرى لمسار العلمنة الذي أرساه مصطفى كمال أتاتورك. وكل خطوة تضيف إلى خطة التديين هي خطوة تنقص تلقائياً من العلمانية. وما يحاوله إردوغان خصوصاً هو الانتقاص من هالة مصطفى كمال أتاتورك شخصياً و«شيطنته» في مختلف المجالات باعتباره رمزاً للعلمنة في تركيا كما في العالم الإسلامي. وقد انتقد عدد كبير من المؤرخين والحقوقيين قرار مجلس الشورى. ورأى المؤرخ حقي أويار أن القرار هو ضربة لـ«القيم المؤسّسة للجمهورية»، ولا يحل مشكلة بل يفاقم مما هو قائم ولا يخدم سوى التلاعب بمصير البلاد.

هي خطوة ضمن مسار من أجل تعزيز الطابع الديني للدولة والمجتمع


3-

لا تبعد خطوة إعادة آيا صوفيا جامعاً عن حسابات داخلية يتقن إردوغان حبك خيوطها. فإردوغان، وقد أصبح ذلك معروفاً، يعزف على الأوتار القومية والدينية والمذهبية عشية كل استحقاق انتخابي. ومع أن الانتخابات الرئاسية المقبلة ستكون بعد 3 أعوام، إلا أن احتمال إجرائها في وقت أبكر ليس مستبعداً. وكما أضاف إردوغان إلى جعبته «إنجاز ليبيا» (حتى الآن على الأقل) معززاً قاعدته القومية، ها هو يضيف «إنجاز آيا صوفيا» معززاً قاعدته الدينية وممسكاً بورقتين مهمتين.

4-

تقع الخطوة في إطار حرف الأنظار عن المشكلات الاقتصادية التي تواجهها تركيا، ولا سيما بعد أزمة «كورونا». وتقول الكاتبة في صحيفة «جمهورييت» ألتشين بويراز، إن إردوغان تجاهل الأوضاع الصعبة وتراجع النمو وكبت الحريات وازدياد البطالة والجريمة وهرب إلى خطوة مثيرة لإلهاء الناس عن مشكلات البلاد الحقيقية.

بالطبع، هاتان الورقتان وحدهما غير كافيتين لفوز إردوغان بالرئاسة من جديد، فهناك الورقة الاقتصادية الأهم، لكنهما تشكلان إضافة قد تكون مؤثرة على نتائج الانتخابات الرئاسية.


أمّا على الصعيد الخارجي:

1-

منذ تحويل قضية آيا صوفيا إلى جامع، إلى مجلس الشورى، توالت ردود الفعل الخارجية، المسيحية تحديداً. وجاءت المناشدات مجمعة على ضرورة عدم اتخاذ مثل هذه الخطوة التي تزيد من تأجيج الحساسيات الدينية بين تركيا والغرب وبين المسلمين والمسيحيين. وجاءت المناشدات والتحذيرات من الأرثوذكس كما من الكاثوليك. مع ذلك، لم يعر إردوغان أذناً صاغية لكل النداءات. وقد انتقد زعيم حزب «الديموقراطية والتقدم» الخطوة قائلاً إن آيا صوفيا ميراث ثقافي مشترك لكل العالم، معتبراً أن تركيا تمر اليوم في «نفق مظلم».

خرج إردوغان في لحظة انتشائه باللحظة الليبية، الموجهة ليس فقط إلى مصر والخليج بل إلى اليونان وقبرص اليونانية وفرنسا وروسيا، ليضع نفسه لاعباً إقليمياً ودولياً مؤثراً. لكنه، بخطوة تمسّ رمزاً دينياً وحضارياً عالمياً مثل آيا صوفيا، تطلّع إردوغان ليضع نفسه في موقع الزعيم العالمي.

2-

ليست مصادفة أن يحدد إردوغان يوم الجمعة في 24 تموز/ يوليو موعداً لافتتاح الصلاة في «الجامع الجديد». فهو كان سيحدد هذا التاريخ لهذا الموعد سواء كان نهار جمعة أو أحد. ففي هذا التاريخ في عام 1923 وُقّعت معاهدة لوزان بين تركيا والقوى الكبرى، والتي رسمت الحدود الجغرافية والحضارية والاجتماعية لتركيا الجديدة. وقد أراد إردوغان من إعادة آيا صوفيا جامعاً رسالة، إلى القوى الكبرى، بأنّ العد العكسي لإلغاء المعاهدة، التي اعتبرها إردوغان في صيف 2016 هزيمة، بدأ.

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