The proposal to convert the Kariye Museum into a mosque comes only a month after a highly contentious conversion for Hagia Sophia, listed by the UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. On Friday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan directed another ancient Orthodox church to be converted into a mosque and then a famous museum in Istanbul to become a center of Muslim worship again. These also led to strains between Turkey and Greece and its Orthodox Church. Yet Mr. Erdogan puts even greater strategic focus on the wars that culminated in the Ottomans crushing Byzantium. The Holy Saviour in Chora was a medieval Byzantine church adorned with Last Judgement frescoes from the 14th century, which remain treasured in the Christian world. Turkey’s fraught attempts to integrate these two narratives shape the foundation of contemporary politics and social life in that region.
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