Row over Hagia Sophia an artificial crisis: Akşener

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İYİ (Good) Party chair Meral Akşener has criticized President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan for sparking “artificial crises” in order to divert people’s attention from economic and other pressing issues and suggested that the government’s recent demand to turn the Hagia Sophia museum into a mosque was one of them.

“Stop trying to shift this country’s agenda by replacing the country’s important problems with artificial crises. Hagia Sophia is an example of this. Whenever they had problems in the last 18 years, they brought the Hagia Sophia issue to the fore,” Akşener told her parliamentary group on June 10.

Recalling that the İYİ Party submitted a parliamentary motion to study for the opening of the Hagia Sophia to worship in order to test whether the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) is sincere on this issue, Akşener said, “The AKP voted against it. The MHP [Nationalist Movement Party] and the HDP [Peoples’ Democratic Party] abstained and our motion was rejected.”

“This shame is enough for you,” Akşener said, referring to the AKP’s rejection. The AKP officials explained that they wanted to wait for the ruling of the Council of State on the status of the Hagia Sophia which is slated for July 2 and that’s why they rejected the Good Party’s initiative.

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has stressed that his government will take necessary action concerning the opening of the Hagia Sophia to worship in line with the court ruling. The former Greek Orthodox cathedral was turned into a museum in 1934.

Greece has harshly criticized Turkey for the recital of Quran at the Hagia Sophia as part of the celebrations of the 567th anniversary of the conquest of Istanbul by the Ottoman Empire.

Hurriyet Daily News

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