JAKARTA – Learning From Hagia Sophia. The policy of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan who dared to restore the function of Hagia Sophia from a museum into a mosque implies its own message for the international world, despite opposition from the western world. Under Erdogan, Turkey wants to be recognized as a sovereign nation and regional leader.
Thus Analysis of International Geopolitical Observer who is also the chairman of Gelora Indonesia Party, Muhammad Anis Matta responded to the Turkish government’s strict policy which was opposed by various parties, including by UNESCO.
Anis Matta assessed that Erdogan’s courage in returning Hagia Sophia to a mosque was appreciated by the world’s Muslim community, including Muslims in Indonesia.
“Turkey is a regional leader. That’s Erdogan’s message behind the decision to return the Hagia Sophia to a mosque after it was made a museum by Attaturk since 1935, “Anis told reporters in Jakarta on Monday (07/13/2020).
Anis added on the other hand Erdogan’s firm policy sparked opposition. This is mainly from countries that are contra with Turkey such as Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
For Anis, Erdogan’s special message concerns the geopolitical battle he wants to win. There is a special strategy that Erdogan wants for Turkey.
“This is a message of determination amid the geopolitical political will battle,” explained Anis who is also the Chairperson of the Indonesian People’s Wave Party (Gelora).
However, on the other hand, this effort is Erdogan’s new approach to geopolitics. This strategy is necessary given that for nearly the past 10 years, Erdogan led Turkey to conflict in various points such as in Syria Greece, Libya and Yemen.
Anis Matta considered Erdogan’s turning point to occur after the failure of the 2016 coup. At that time, a military coup sponsored by anti-Arab Spring countries such as Saudi Arabia and the UAE further cemented Erdogan’s internal position.
“It also makes Erdogan more courageous to intervene in military areas, such as Libya and maybe someday also Yemen,” he explained.
Then, the phenomenon of falling oil prices hit the lands of Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Russia which are the main players in the geopolitical conflict in the region.
“The message of Turkey’s geopolitical determination seems to be designed neatly towards Erdogan’s last presidential election in 2024,” he concluded.
As is known, Hagia Sophia was originally built as a church of the Church of the Holy Spirit by order of the Byzantine Emperor Justinian I in the 6th century. Some of the supporting pillars in the building were taken from Ephesus and the Temple of Artemis.
Learning From Hagia Sophia. Hagia Sophia is also one of the largest cathedrals in the world that has special significance for the Orthodox community.
Hagia Sophia has changed its function several times, and has been renovated and expanded several times over the centuries.
During the Ottoman conquest of Istanbul in 1453, Hagia Sophia changed its function to become a mosque. One of its uniqueness is the combination of mosaics typical of the Byzantine era and calligraphy from the Ottoman Empire.
The building is adorned with architecture that features elements typical of the Ottoman Sultanate. Some elements such as the mihrab and the pulpit, where the clerics lectured, were added. In fact, a library was also built in it.
In 1935, the Hagia Sophia was transformed into a museum. Even so, the original decoration of flower and geometric mosaics from the 7th century still survives.