THREAD on Erdy, Turkey & Hagia Sophia
Turkey has turned into a pirate state with "soft" Islamist ideology. FP has gone from zero problems to zero friends in one decade.
There are a few dividends to being the first actor/provocateur in a region to break-away from post-war order. Turkey may even benefit in short-term. But you have to be a civilizational state like China to get away with it in the medium to long term.
And when other states adjust to this realpolitik (global defence spending up 4% last year), Turkey is the loser.
Hagia Sophia: Easy target. On one level: how did it take so long? Given Turkish religious architecture has been historically considered a pale imitation of its Byz predecessor (C. Texier & W. Dalrymple come to this conclusion) only matter of time til axe fell on prototype.
Where does it stop? The logic of conqueror takes all is a religious triumphalism in which Israel gets moral carte blanche convert Dome of the Rock or al-Aqsa into Third Temple. Religious race to the bottom. Or let Russia convert C8th Juma Mosque (Dagestan) into a church?
Even on Erdogan’s Islamic plane of existence, it doesn’t work. At beginning of Islam, we have The Treaty of Najran (631) guaranteed to the Christians security for "their lives, their religion and their property."
It gave Christians freedom of religion, stipulating that there would be no interference in the practice of Christianity, nor would any cross/church be destroyed.
Even at END of Islam, according to mainstream Islamic eschatology, it is a bad move: it drives a wedge between Rum (the Orthodox) who Muslims believe will make an alliance with in the End Times. According to a famous hadith, the Muslims will:
“Make peace with the Romans in a secure alliance and fight an enemy who is behind you and you will be victorious" (Hadith no. 4292, Book of Great Battles, Sunan Abu Dawud, Vol. 4).
Turkey = DYSFUNCTIONAL STATE: Association for the Service of the Historical Foundations and the Environment filed lawsuit for for conversion in 2005. Rejected in 2008. Again in 2016 but rejected by Supreme Court in 2018. What changed in 2020? Erdy.
Erdy twisted a few wrists no doubt with his dreaded Pelican Group (which manages to combine the facets of a shadow state with an online troll army) led by Erdogan's son-in-law, Finance Minister Berat Albay-rak. Scalps? 1,500 lawyers arrested in 3 yrs (Human Rights Watch).
Message? Multiculturalism/tolerance only flows one way: Western world caters for minorities, non-Western one does not: starting with Turkey.
As @ByzHistoryTweep wrote: Western/Frankish academic silence is deafening. If statues were tools of oppression, so are mosque conversions in a nation of 82,000 mosques where over 150,000 Christians have fewer than 200 churches.
Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I stated on June 30 in a sermon that Hagia Sophia’s conversion would “turn millions of Christians around the world against Islam.”
Patriarch Kirill of Moscow: “to threaten Hagia Sophia is to threaten Christendom…” Furthermore, he reprimanded Erdogan saying “national leaders should reconcile all the elements of society not aggravate discord.”
Moreover, as @TurkishFacade argued
a) carpets over marble: will they be fire retardant, trap humidity, ugly?)
b) security guards incentivised against attacks on art whereas Erdogan has created an atmosphere where vandalism excusable even morally justifiable, maybe even right.
c) Humidity was low with 8 hr opening hours and Mondays closed. It won’t be with five prayer times inc sunrise & late at night. Structural damage will be immense.
2004-2016: inflation at 6-9%
2016-2018: inflation 12-16%
Now: inflation c.12.5%
Currency sliding again ––– repeat of 2018 crisis on cards??
Lira is one of 2020’s five worst performers in emerging markets with loss of 13% against the dollar.
Turkey is economically vulnerable:

•c.50% of gas imports come from Russia
•EU can put up sanctions on their customs union
•U/e = 13.5%
•Dwindling foreign currency reserves (52bn down from 112bn in 2013)
•Collapse in tourism sector: dropped 99% in May 2020 (FT)
Foreign Policy = pig’s ear. Esp Another proxy war with Russia in Nagorna-Karabakh to add to Syria and Libya. Erdy cannot afford these multiple fronts over extended periods.
EU affected by Turkish tub-thumpers around southern Cypriot shores (where ENI of Italy and Total of France have exploration rights) because it wants Israeli/Greek/Cypriot gas pipeline to Italy. Turkey wants a Libyan equivalent. Hence FRA selling GRE a couple of latest frigates.
Turkey not behaving like a civilised actor:

•Violated Greek airspace X4,811 (largest no. since 1987)
•Mock dog fights with Greeks X384 (number was 10 in 2010)
• Violated of Greek waters X15 higher than in 2010
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