Hagia Sophia (foto theculturetrip.com)
How NATO Member Turkey Reverted Back to Being an Islamic Dictatorship
The gradual process of Turkey’s becoming an Islamic sharia law country, again, is no longer so gradual. It has taken a sudden and sharp rightward turn, into Islamic nationhood. Turkey’s Hagia Sophia, which had been “the world’s largest cathedral for nearly a thousand years, until Seville Cathedral was completed in 1520,” has now been officially declared by the Turkish Government to be, instead, a mosque.
On July 10th, the BBC bannered “Hagia Sophia: Turkey turns iconic Istanbul museum into mosque” and reported that the biggest, oldest, and the most important, cathedral in all of Orthodox Christendom – and the world’s most important Byzantine building, which was constructed as the Saint Sophia Cathedral by the Byzantine Roman Emperor Justinian I in Constantinople (now Istanbul) in the year 537, and which stands on the site that had been consecrated in the year 325 by the Roman Emperor Constantine (and which cathedral was relabelled the Hagia Sophia “museum” in 1935 by Turkey’s Constitutionally secularist Government) – has now become, officially, at last, designated, by the restored Islamic Government of Turkey, a Muslim house of worship, a mosque, a Muslim house of worship.
This signals the end of Turkey’s being ruled by a secular Government, which it had been, ever since 1923. It is the end of Turkey’s secular Government and the restoration of the Islamic Mehmed the Conqueror’s 1453 order that it be a mosque. That ended the Byzantine Roman Catholic Empire, and started Islamic ruled Turkey. It ended Constantinople and started Istanbul. Mehmet, however, allowed Christianity to continue, in the Islamic Ottoman Empire, but only as an accepted part of the Greek East (“Orthodox”), not as part of the Roman West (imperialistic), Christianity (which he had just then conquered with the fall of Constantinople on that same date, 29 May 1453). And now, even the Orthodox Christians are being marginalized in Turkey, because the Hagia Sophia had been “for almost 1,000 years the most important Orthodox cathedral.”
This is an act with huge international implications. It is an important event in human history.
Turkey’s dictator, Recip Tayyip Erdogan, whose entire actual education was only in Islamic schools though he lies about it and claims to have received a degree from a non Islamic university, is in the process of transforming Turkey back again into a specifically Islamic type of dictatorship, a Sharia law ruled state. The secularist Turkish Republic that was instituted in 1923 by the Enlightenment inspired Kemal Attaturk has now decisively ended. The widespread speculations that Erdogan has been aiming to restore Turkey to being the imperial nation and ruler of a restored Islamic Ottoman Empire are now decisively confirmed by this brazen act of insult to Orthodox Christians, and even to Roman Christians, because – as Wikipedia notes – “Justinian has sometimes been known as the ‘Last Roman’ in mid 20th century historiography.” The Orthodox Church in America titles him as “Saint Justinian The Emperor”. However, Wikipedia also notes that Constantine XI Palaiologos, who was killed by Mehmet’s forces on that date, 29 May 1453, was actually the last Roman Emperor. That ended the Roman Empire.
In other words: the Turkish Government’s official change of Saint Sophia Cathedral, which Justinian had created in 537, into now and henceforth a mosque, is a taking ownership of, and a Turkish Muslim declaration of supremacy over, a different religion’s main house of worship. It’s a historical dagger into the heart of Orthodox Christianity, as well as being an insult to Roman Christianity.
This is not merely an isolated act, either; it is, instead, something to which Erdogan has long been building. Erdogan’s grab of land from secularist ruled (committedly anti sectarian) Syria, and his recent sending of troops to help conquer the formerly secularist Libya, which land had been turned into a hellish civil war by a US and allied invasion in 2011 and which chaos there continues to this day, all are consistent with an understanding of Erdogan in which his foremost objective is a restoration of the Ottoman Empire. And the US Government has supported this objective of his (but only as Turkey being a branch of the US empire), and tried to get the EU to accept it.
The question now – since the United States Government has been pushing against European resistance to accepting a military alliance with an Islamic dictatorship – is whether continuation of the NATO alliance will be ended because of the path that Erdogan and the United States Government have jointly been taking to re impose a decidedly Sunni Islamic dictatorship upon Turkey (by means of which, Turkey will serve as a wedge against both Shiite controlled Iran, and an increasingly Orthodox dominated Russia). However, there has been a split between Erdogan and the US regime, because he does not intend his restored Ottoman empire to be a part of the US or any other empire. Erdogan’s independent streak is what now threatens to break up the Western Alliance – the US empire (which is actually the Rhodesist UK U.S. empire).
The United States Government has been preferring Erdogan’s former political partner but now enemy, Erdogan’s fellow Sunni Islamist Fethullah Gulen, who cooperates with the US and is a CIA protégé (including rabidly against Shiite Iran and against Iran’s main ally Russia). Gulen is passionately endorsed by America’s aristocracy. The US regime has been preferring Gulen to impose this transformation of Turkey into an Islamic US satellite, because Gulen models his operation (and he has even described it in remarkable detail) upon US and UK ‘intelligence’ practices (CIA & MI6), whereas Erdogan has insisted upon an independent Turkey with its own nationalistic ‘intelligence’ organization – a nationalistically transformed version of Turkey’s existing MIT or National Intelligence Organization – an ‘intelligence’ organization that’s cleansed of what the CIA praises as “Gulen is interested in slow and deep social change, including secular higher education; Erdogan as a party leader is first and foremost interested in preserving his party’s power, operating in a populist manner, trying to raise the general welfare.” The CIA actually knows that this has nothing whatsoever to do with “trying to raise the general welfare” – the US regime’s goal is to extend everywhere the US empire, and Erdogan’s Turkish regime has that same goal for the Turkish empire, which doesn’t yet even exist, though it once did as the Ottoman Empire, and he wants to restore it. Erdogan insists upon Turkey’s not being merely a vassal state or colony within a foreign led empire, but instead the leading nation of its own empire, starting perhaps with gobbling up Syria and Libya, but extending ultimately more globally. There is a soundly documented article titled “Why Are Gulenists Hostile Toward Iran?” and it provides much of the reason why the CIA supports Gulen (they do largely because Erdogan isn’t so obsessive against Iran – which country America’s aristocracy crave to conquer again, as they had done in 1953, and Erdogan doesn’t support that as passionately as they require).
The question now for Europe is whether it wants to be again a participant in various aristocracies’, and clergies’, imperialistic designs, or instead to declare itself finally non aligned and to lead thereby a new global non aligned movement, not militaristically, but instead by providing, to the entire world, an anti imperialistic and truly democratic model, a re start and replacement of today’s United Nations, and one that will reflect what had been Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s anti imperialist intention, and not Harry S. Truman’s American imperialist intention — a start from scratch that has FDR’s statements to guide it, and not Truman’s actions to guide it (such as has been the case). Perhaps even the US, NYC based, UN would ultimately sign onto that new international global federation; but the only basis upon which nations in the old UN should be accepted into its successor would be if the old UN were gradually to dissolve itself as its individual nations would, each on its own, sign onto the new one. Ultimately, this option must be made available to all Governments, to choose to either continue in Truman’s UN, or else join instead a new, and authentically FDR based, authentically anti imperialistic, replacement of it.
That is what this dictatorial Islamization of Turkey is really all about, and only Europe can make the decision – no other land can. However, such a decision will only fail if any such organization as a new UN is to be at all involved in the particular national issues that now are so clearly coming to the fore in the transformation of Turkey into a Sunni Islamist dictatorship.
The “international community” should have no say in Turkey’s intranational (or “domestic”) affairs — regardless of whether Turkey is in or out of Europe. Sectarian and nationalistic concerns cannot rule in the formation of any authentically democratic new international order — an authentically non imperialistic international order. All such concerns, domestic concerns, must be strictly the domain of the authority and power of each one of the individual constituent units, each individual national Government itself controlling its own internal affairs. FDR was adamant about that. He was insistent that the UN not get involved in individual nations’ internal affairs. The profoundly anti FDR, “Responsibility to Protect” idea (which now has even acquired the status of being represented by an acronym “R2P” catch phrase), has increasingly arisen recently to become a guiding principle of international relations, and must be soundly and uncompromisingly rejected in the formulation and formation of any replacement organization – any authentically democratic international federation of nations. Otherwise, everything would be futile, and there will be a WWIII. We are heading in exactly the opposite direction from that which FDR had intended – which was to prevent any Third World War.
This decision will be made by the individual nations of Europe. Only they collectively hold this power. They will be able to exercise it only if they will terminate their alliances outside of Europe, and proceed forward no longer bound by external alliances, but instead become a free and independent European federation of European states. Only they, collectively, will be able to make this decision, as Europeans, for the entire world, regarding what the world’s future will be. And only they will hold the ultimate responsibility – and it’s NOT the “responsibility to protect”. It is instead the responsibility to protect the future of the entire world. It’s the responsibility to protect a future for the world. And if Europe fails it, then the world will inevitably move forward to WWIII, as it is doing. A new international order is needed, and only Europe can lead it, if Europe will.
In order for Europe to do that, Europe must first define itself. Is Turkey part of Europe? Is Russia? What is Europe? If Europeans won’t be able to agree on that, then the world will continue to move forward towards WWIII, because the world will then have no center, it will continue to have only contending empires – exactly what FDR had aimed to prevent.
Europe is the key. But will Europe’s leaders place the key in the lock, and open, finally, the door to a non imperialistic world? The present, US empire aligned, Europe, won’t do that. Turkey’s action on the Hagia Sophia, which is an insult to all Christians, and especially to Orthodox ones, might finally force the issue – and its solution.
Other than that, however, the official designation of the Hagia Sophia as being a mosque is entirely a domestic, Turkish, matter.
Originally posted at Strategic Culture.
Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.