Recep Tayyip Erdogan
Recep Tayyip ErdoganReuters

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan paid a surprise visit to Hagia Sophia days before the first Islamic prayers are to be held at the Istanbul landmark reconverted to a mosque last week. Erdogan walked inside the structure, which was for 900 years the most important Eastern church and the seat of the Roman Empire.

Necip Fazil Kisakurek, the most important Islamist poet of the time, on 29 December 1965, during a conference on Hagia Sophia, said that the decision to convert the structure into a museum was like “putting the spirit of the Turks within a museum”. Referring to the government of Ataturk as a “clique”, Kisakurek accused it of having committed an act of unspeakable self-harm.

In that 1965 speech, the poet also said that the conversion of the Hagia Sophia into a mosque was only a matter of time. When Turkish President Erdogan hailed the court ruling over the conversion of Hagia Sophia to a mosque, he quoted Kisakurek's 1965 conference.

On Friday, July 24th, two imams and four muezzins will recite the first Islamic prayer in the new mosque of Hagia Sophia in Istanbul. It is the anniversary of the Lausanne Treaty, which marked the borders of modern Turkey.

“Erdogan will want the Western world especially to watch closely”, Selim Koru writes in the New York Times. The Turkish ruler wants the West to see him praying as the reconqueror of Istanbul’s most important site.

“Islam orders it and the Prophet Muhammad has constantly repeated it to believers: Muslims must live united under the absolutist banner of a Caliph, the only representative of Allah on earth,” Algerian novelist Boualem Sansal told me. “They did this for 14 centuries, until the XX century, when the Western countries dismantled the Ottoman Empire and worked for the abolition of the Caliphate, which took place on March 3, 1924."

"With the transformation of Saint Sophia into a mosque, Erdogan has performed strong symbolic acts that in the months and years to come will produce significant effects. Istanbul will become the center of the Muslim world and Hagia Sophia will dethrone [Egypt's] Al Azhar and infuse new energy into the Muslim world.”

Sansal was shocked by the silence of the West about Hagia Sophia. “Western leaders have never fully understood Islam, nor have they correctly perceived the obsessions and impulses that are profoundly influencing the Ummah. Today no European leader stands up to Erdogan, everyone fears him and does everything to please him”.

The fall of Constantinople in 1453 changed everything. The borders of the West were beaten by a new religious war reaching the Balkans. And it was precisely Western indifference then to what happened in Constantinople that marked its fate.

As ground breaking historian Ferdinand Braudel said (also unintentionally giving a deeper understanding of the need for the Noahide laws) in 1985 in Châteauvallon, Provence, in a meeting with Hélène Ahrweiler, Greek Byzantinologist and rector of the Sorbonne: “We have dismembered the Byzantine Empire alive, just as cookbooks prescribe when they say: 'The rabbit must be skinned alive'! We have skinned Byzantium alive.”

The West continues to pay for that betrayal. Islam will overrun it.