Political talk from outside of the UK
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By Kreuzberger
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On the face of it, it is a significant decision but I do wonder how much practical difference it will make. The Hagia Sophia is basically a mosque anyway, only with world class calligraphy and art exhibitions. It is not clear yet whether these will be slung out.

The nearby Blue Mosque is a proper mosquey mosque, but they really don't do great business, apart from amongst tourists. In fact, they are both on the peninsular which, to my eyes seems, pretty secular. Further up the Golden Horn, to the north west, there's Ayakapı which is a solid, working class, deeply religious area with a mosque on every corner and where you can't get a Raki for love nor Lira. I can't see those people traipsing over to the Hagia Sophia on a regular basis, especially when their current mosques are community hubs where everyone knows each other.

But, yes. This move is symbolic and we ignore politically symbolic moves at our peril.
By Abernathy
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Quite right on the symbolism, K. I immediately wondered about the practical worth of declaring Agia Sophia a mosque given that the Blue Mosque is virtually next door, so it can only be an act of political symbolism.

Right about Agia Sophia being more or less already a mosque, too. When we were there there were young lads in every corner reciting all the verses of the Koran that they were committing to memory.
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By Kreuzberger
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Abernathy wrote:
Fri Jul 10, 2020 9:37 pm
Quite right on the symbolism, K.
Thanks, Abers. I am always fearful of treading on the toes of subjects which I don't understand, namely religion.

That is not, in any way, to devalue the sheer beauty of the Agia Sophia. Calligraphy is my lasting fetish.

For a tenner, I can go into the Sophia, fill my tanks, and then walk via the Grand Bazaar down to the ferry terminal, collecting indigo-dyed, raw cotton scarves, calf leather gloves, and silk socks as I go.

I have reached the age and hair colour (none) to be greeted at "Abe", these days. It is respectful and a cultural reaction to assumed maturity and the seniority which comes with that, and it means that I can pay whatever I want. The trick is to sense that middle ground and to not take the piss. @The Red Arrow will understand what I am rambling on about.

(For the avoidance of holes in this story, the Kreuzette is banished to her own devices for such epic adventures. She hates shopping but is quite partial to baklava and crack-infused coffee.)

In another browser window, I am going going full-tilt at Skyscanner. Turkish Airlines? First weekend of October? 135€ return?

Who knows what the next few weeks will bring but I feel another visit to the Agia Sophia coming on. The place is usually crawling with teenaged cops, armed to the hilt, although I hope that I would be welcome.

I am sure I will be, especially in my silk socks. Then, I'll get hair cut and we'll eat fish.
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By The Red Arrow
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The Red Arrow will understand what I am rambling on about.
I understand exactly, Kreuzie. During my Anatolian adventures, I've gone from being called 'sarışın' (blondie) to 'karlı' (snowy) with a marked change in deference. Oddly, I go blonde again if I grow it very long, which confuses them.
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