Breaking Out of Prison With a Ouija Board and Some Clever Tricks

“The Confidence Men,” by Margalit Fox, recounts the elaborate true-life saga of two British officers who escaped from an Ottoman prison camp during World War I by brainwashing and manipulating their captors.

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Biden Declares Mass Killings of Armenians a Genocide

The Turkish government, as well as human rights activists and ethnic Armenians, had a muted response to the news, describing the move as largely symbolic.

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What the Armenian Genocide Means Today

After years of avoiding the topic, the U.S. government now officially views the killing of 1.5 million Armenians by the Ottoman Empire a century ago as genocide. Here’s how it came about.

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Biden to Declare Atrocities Against Armenia Were Genocide

The designation for the World War I-era killings would further fray U.S. relations with Turkey, but it is a risk the president appears willing to take to further human rights, officials said.

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Erdogan Reopens Turkey’s Hagia Sophia as a Mosque

The Muslim faithful celebrated the decision by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey, even as it generated dismay among Christians and architectural conservators.

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The Hagia Sophia Was a Cathedral, a Mosque and a Museum. It’s Converting Again.

Changing the secular space back into a religious one is a risk for the World Heritage site.

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Why Erdogan Wants Hagia Sophia to Be a Mosque

The Hagia Sophia has been designated as a mosque again, its status as a museum viewed for decades as a seal on the country’s spirit.

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What will happen to the Hagia Sophia now that it’s a mosque again?

What will happen to the Hagia Sophia now that it’s a mosque again?

Enlarge (credit: Maksym Kozlenko / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0))

The 1,500-year-old Hagia Sophia in Istanbul, Turkey, will become an active mosque beginning on July 24, ending its 85-year run as a secular museum.

Byzantine Emperor Justinian I ordered the building’s construction in 532 CE; for nearly 1,000 years, its 55.6 meter (180 ft) dome covered the largest indoor space in the world. Over a millennium and a half, the monumental structure has been an Eastern Orthodox cathedral, a Roman Catholic cathedral, an Eastern Orthodox cathedral again, and then a mosque.

Today, the Hagia Sophia is one of Turkey’s largest tourist attractions; an estimated 3.7 million people visited the site in 2019. It became a museum in 1934, under a decree from the Cabinet of Ministers under then-president of the Turkish Republic, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk.

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Erdogan Talks of Making Hagia Sophia a Mosque Again, to International Dismay

The World Heritage site was once a potent symbol of Christian-Muslim rivalry, and it could become one once more.

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