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Azerbaijanis debate Hagia Sophia transformation into mosque on social media

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The debate about Turkey’s recent decision to turn Hagia Sophia in Istanbul back into a mosque after being a museum for 86 years continues to rage on social media. Most condemn the decision, although there are those who support it as well.

Photo taken in Hagia Sophia in 2009. Erdogan shows the cathedral to then-US President Barack Obama. REUTERS / Jim Young

The Hagia Sophia was built in Constantinople in 537. At first it was an Orthodox church, then a mosque.

On November 14, 1934, the Ataturk government decided to change the status of Hagia Sophia for a third time, turning the mosque into a museum.

On July 10, 2020, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan signed a decision to repeal that decree.

Starting July 24, Hagia Sophia will open once again as a mosque. The call to prayer has already sounded inside its halls, and prayers take place in front of the temple every day, with hundreds in attendance.

Hundreds of people gather for an evening prayer in front of Hagia Sophia after the government decided to reopen the museum as a mosque. Istanbul, July 10, 2020. REUTERS / Murad Sezer

Azerbaijan has not officially expressed its opinion on the decision to abolish the Ataturk government decree of 1934. This cannot be said about the Azerbaijani public, however, amongst which a fiery debate has broken out.

Overall, the public opinion is practically unanimous — most people condemn the decision to turn the museum into a mosque.

The famous Azerbaijani historian Altay Goyushov, who now lives in Germany, said:

“You can declare the Hagia Sophia a mosque four times over – it’s useless. When it was built, it was the most famous orthodox church in the world. In the 15th century, the temple was declared a mosque based on the rules of its time. In the 1930s, also based on the progressive, modernist trends of the time, turning it into a museum was an appropriate decision.

“Nowadays, turning a museum into a church would be a progressive step. This would bring great respect and gratitude to Turkey. Turkey’s opponents would have much less to say against them.

“Or, they could just maintain its status as a museum and not cause so much excitement for no reason.

“Even though they have once again turned the temple into a mosque, it is impossible to change the fact of the Hagia Sophia was built as an Orthodox church. But this move was a powerful blow to the authority of Turkey and Islam around the world. And now, Turkey’s opponents have even more to say against them.”

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Popular radio host Aziza Ismailova posted:

“Aya Sofya has become a mosque. I never had the chance to visit it as a museum. ”

The famous blogger Namiq Mammadov jokes:

“Well, there is a silver lining – now the Hagia Sophia will have free admission.”

Though few and far between, there are some posts whose authors can barely contain their joy about the situation.

Elnur Aliyev, a famous blogger among Azerbaijani conservatives, said:

“Congratulations, Turkey! May Allah be with us.”

There are also users who do not understand the uproar among Azerbaijanis surrounding the events around Haga Sofya. In their opinion, it would be better for them to pay more attention to the condition of churches within Azerbaijan itself.

“It is strange to read comments from people who lament over Hagia Sophia. Have you seen the condition of the ancient Albanian church in Gakh? The Ministry of Culture does not even know about it. And we have many churches like this,”

writes the famous journalist, editor of one of the Azerbaijani news sites Gunay Arda.

An demonstration of support for the government’s decision to turn Aya Sofya from a museum into a mosque. Istanbul, July 10, 2020. REUTERS / Murad Sezer

The post Azerbaijanis debate Hagia Sophia transformation into mosque on social media appeared first on English Jamnews.

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Pentagon on lockdown after shooting nearby

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The Pentagon is on lockdown after multiple gunshots were fired near a platform by the facility’s Metro station, Report informs via FOX 8.

Officials report several injuries. Three people have been taken to hospitals for further medical attention; one victim was taken by helicopter and the other two by an ambulance, officials say.

The US Department of Defense (DoD) warned people to remain in their offices in an alert sent to all DoD computers and via an overhead announcement, according to FOX News White House Producer Pat Ward.

“The Pentagon currently is on lockdown due to an incident at the Pentagon Transit Center,” the Pentagon Force Protection Agency said on Twitter. “We are asking the public to please avoid the area.”

According to WDVM, the Arlington Fire and Rescue Department reported an active shooter outside the Pentagon, with officials reporting several injuries.

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Fire breaks out near Azerbaijan’s Hirkan National Park

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A fire broke out in the forests near the Osakucha village of Azerbaijan’s Lankaran district, Report informs with reference to the Azerbaijani Emergency Situations Ministry.

The burning territories are bordering the Hirkan National Park.

According to the ministry, the fire broke out in a mountainous area with rugged terrain.

The State Fire Service under the Emergency Situations Ministry, as well as a helicopter of the aviation department, have been involved in extinguishing the fire.

Urgent measures are being taken to put out the fire and prevent its further spread.

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Albania turns to EU for help in extinguishing wildfires

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The head of Albanian General Directorate of Civil Emergencies, Haki Çako, stated today that the operations for extinguishing the flames which have spread rapidly in some areas of the country are continuing, Report informs, citing the Albanian Daily News.

Çako noted that they have also contacted the center for responding to civil emergencies in Brussels, but an aggravated situation is present in other Balkan countries. He stated that troops of the Albanian Armed Forces were sent by helicopter to Karaburun to make extinguishing the flames possible.

"There are many forces from the ground that operate in certain units. We contacted the civil emergency response center in Brussels. Due to the aggravated situation, all Balkan countries have been affected by high temperatures that have also experienced fires. We will continue until the situation normalizes.

The operation has not started today. It has been days since it started. Today it has become necessary to intensify the human resources of the Armed Forces and increase the air force," Haki Çako said.

"With the work done and the increase of resources, we hope to keep the situation under control. Due to the difficult terrain, the operation continued yesterday and today. We intend to stop the advance of the fire," he stressed.

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