Hagia Sophia was converted into a mosque after the conquest of Istanbul in 1453 by Sultan Mehmed II as a symbol of the Ottoman conquest of the city. It served as a mosque until 1934, when it was converted to a museum. Many other steps were taken during the first two decades of the Republic of Turkey, which solidified the rupture of the new regime from its past and were considered a necessity for the recognition of the new regime by the international community. Not only Muslims but also non-Muslims were deprived of many religious rights. For instance, many properties belonging to non-Muslim charitable foundations were appropriated by the government.
The Hagia Sophia Grand Mosque's reopening, an embodiment of Turkey’s free will, could not have been possible without Erdoğan’s leadership and the Turkish people’s confidence in him. Hagia Sophia’s "resurrection" has become a symbol of Turkey’s efforts to become a prominent player in the international arena. A missing piece of our national identity has thus been put back in place. No politician would ever dare to reverse this decision as long as Turkey remains a democracy.
Today marks the fourth anniversary of the July 15 coup attempt in Turkey. This is a time to remember how the people foiled the Gülenist Terror Group's (FETÖ) conspiracy to overthrow the country’s democratically elected government.