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.
Hagia Sophia’s reinstatement as a mosque resulted in a sudden spike in Western media reports about President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Needless to say, almost all of those stories were full of accusations and speculation about Turkey’s agenda.
The 'lifestyle' row in Turkey seems without end. With children bowing to busts of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the republic's founder, on his death's anniversary, assaults against women with headscarves on the streets, a conservative Instagram influencer throwing a flamboyant party for her baby, and an opposition deputy quoting the late prime minister Bülent Ecevit's remarks about a female parliamentarian wearing the religious headscarf – the age-old debate on religious conservatives and politics is back in vogue.
There is a growing tendency among Western media outlets; they seek to answer what the West must do, given President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan will remain in power for another four years. Believing that the risk of "losing Turkey" is higher than before, they advocate the "carrot and stick" approach. Let me say at the outset that this is a fruitless endeavor.