“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.
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.
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.
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.
The Muslim faithful celebrated the decision by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey, even as it generated dismay among Christians and architectural conservators.
Changing the secular space back into a religious one is a risk for the World Heritage site.
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.
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.
The World Heritage site was once a potent symbol of Christian-Muslim rivalry, and it could become one once more.