Connect with us

Uncategorized

’86 years of longing’: Istanbul’s Hagia Sophia opens for Muslim prayers

Avatar

Published

on

ISTANBUL — Thousands of Turks gathered near Hagia Sophia early on Friday for the first prayers there since President Tayyip Erdogan declared the monument, revered by Christians and Muslims for almost 1,500 years, a mosque once again.Crowds formed at checkpoints surrounding the historic heart of Istanbul, where thousands of police maintained security. On entering the secured area the worshipers, wearing face masks, sat spaced out on prayer mats in the city’s Sultanahmet Square.Let our news meet your inbox. The news and stories that matters, delivered weekday mornings.”We are ending our 86 years of longing today,” said one man Sait Colak, referring to the nearly nine decades since Hagia Sophia was declared a museum and ceased to be a place of worship. “Thanks to our president and the court decision today we are going to have our Friday prayers in Hagia Sophia.”A top Turkish court announced this month it annulled Hagia Sophia’s status as a museum. Erdogan immediately turned back into a mosque a building which was a Christian Byzantine cathedral for 900 years before being seized by Ottoman conquerors and serving as a mosque until 1934.The president was scheduled to attend Friday prayers shortly after 1 p.m. along with several hundred invitees for the ceremony in the sixth-century building. Earlier in the day, he retweeted a live broadcast of prayers taking place.During his 17-year rule, Erdogan has championed Islam and religious observance and backed efforts to restore Hagia Sophia’s mosque status. He said Muslims should be able to pray there again and raised the issue — popular with many pious AKP-voting Turks — during local elections last year.The conversion triggered fierce criticism from church leaders, who said the conversion to exclusively Muslim worship risked deepening religious divisions. Turkey says the site will remain open for visitors and its Christian artworks protected.Worshipers wait near Istanbul’s Hagia Sophia on Friday, the first day of Muslim prayers in more than eight decades.Yasin Akgul / APErdogan has reshaped Turkey’s modern republic, established nearly a century ago by the staunchly secularist Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, lifting a ban on Muslim headscarves in public, promoting religious education and taming Turkey’s powerful military, once a bastion of Ataturk’s secular values.Inside Hagia Sophia, the Christian frescoes and the glittering mosaics adorning the cavernous dome and central hall will be concealed by curtains during Muslim prayer times, but remain on display for the rest of the time.
Read More

Uncategorized

Top Turkish official denounces Bolton memoir

Avatar

Published

on

ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — A top Turkish official has denounced a memoir by former U.S. national security adviser John Bolton, saying it contains ” misleading, one-sided and manipulative” accounts of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s conversations with his U.S. counterpart, Donald Trump.In a series of tweets, Turkish presidential communications director Fahrettin Altun said the book, “The Room Where It Happened: A White House Memoir,” was driven by political considerations and personal gain.“We find it reprehensible that former high-level officials attempt to use serious diplomatic conversations and efforts to resolve outstanding issues between allies like the U.S. and Turkey for their domestic political agendas,” Altun said.Bolton claimed in the memoir that Trump sought to interfere in an investigation into Turkish state-owned bank, Halkbank, in an effort to cut deals with Erdogan.Halkbank was charged with evading U.S. sanctions against Iran by processing billions of dollars of Iranian oil revenue. An indictment said the bank illegally moved about $20 billion in Iranian oil and gas revenues, sometimes disguising money movements as purchases of food and medicine.Altun said Erdogan “clearly outlines Turkey’s priorities and advocates for them vigorously” including the Halkbank issue. Altun tweeted: “We are confident that the US-Turkey relationship will survive such efforts and even thrive at the end. President Erdogan will continue his frank, honest, and straightforward conversations with the U.S. President Donald Trump.”
Read More

Continue Reading

Uncategorized

Leaders of Turkey and Greece discuss COVID fallout in rare call

Avatar

Published

on

ATHENS/ISTANBUL (Reuters) – Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan discussed the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic by phone on Friday, Athens and Ankara said – rare such contact for two neighbours at odds over a range of issues.Mitsotakis and Erdogan addressed ways of handling the effects of the coronavirus outbreak, the reopening of borders and the re-establishment of tourist flows, a statement from Mitsotakis’s office said.“Mr Mitsotakis and Mr Erdogan agreed to keep the bilateral channels of communication open,” it said, a line re-iterated in the statement from the Turkish presidency.Erdogan’s office also said the two discussed tourism, security, as well as cooperation on economic issues and the fight against COVID-19.A Greek source with knowledge of the matter said: “The two leaders didn’t discuss high policy matters, but they did agree that tension is relatively high and that channels of communication must be restored.“There cannot be a de-escalation of tensions if the two sides don’t talk.”Though NATO partners and neighbours, Greece and Turkey have testy relations and differences on issues as diverse as airspace rights, maritime boundaries and ethnically-divided Cyprus.Reporting by Michele Kambas and Renee Maltezou in Athens, and Can Sezer in Istanbul; Editing by Mark Heinrich and Jonathan Spicerfor-phone-onlyfor-tablet-portrait-upfor-tablet-landscape-upfor-desktop-upfor-wide-desktop-up
Read More

Continue Reading

Uncategorized

Brazil Senate approves bill on ‘fake news’…

Avatar

Published

on

(Adds details) BRASILIA, June 30 (Reuters) – Brazil’s Senate approved on Tuesday a bill governing rules to fight fake news, with Senate head David Alcolumbre saying it also guarantees social media transparency. The bill’s main text was approved by a 44-32 vote. It still needs to be voted by lower house lawmakers. “We need to understand this universe and recognize that freedom of expression cannot be confused with aggression, violence or threat,” Alcolumbre wrote in his Twitter account. After the main text’s approval, senators also voted on amendments to the bill. “We tried to make the text more concise, ensuring the right of reply and the immediate removal of content in serious situations such as the violation of the rights of children and adolescents, prejudice due to issues of race, ethnicity and national origin,” the bill’s rapporteur, Senator Angelo Coronel, said. (Reporting by Maria Carolina Marcello; Writing by Gabriela Mello; Editing by Leslie Adler)

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Read More

Continue Reading

Facebook

Trending