But what does this conversion of a building really mean in terms of world conflict, Israel and even to our own country? Turkey, under Erdogan, is attempting to replace Saudi Arabia as leader of the world's Sunni population. It has already aligned itself with America-hating Iran which also sees Arabia as an obstacle to its conquest of the Middle East and its oil fields.
A joining of these two now volatile and aggressive Islamist nations is troubling to Israel as well. The Jewish State has now semi-friendly relations with Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the UAE and sort of with Jordan. Turkey's move with the Hagia Sophia has signaled its continuing religious alignment with the enemy of the new "Israeli bloc" and the U.S. That's a bad move and a warning sign of its dark intent.
And Turkey's move to eradicate its history by removing its past emulates what's occurring in our own USA today with the toppling of statues and symbols of our nation's legacy. The statues of Christopher Columbus, Abraham Lincoln, Gen. Robert E. Lee, George Washington and Frederick Douglas among others, have been torn down by rioters.
It's comparable to book burning and mob rule. All of us were shocked when ISIS, in Iraq destroyed the ancient city of Hatra. Recall when the Taliban blew up the statues of Bhudda built in the 4th Century BCE?
Now it's happening right here in America - and as well in dictator-ruled Turkey.
The great Roman philosopher, Marcus Cicero wrote over 2,000 years ago: "History is life's teacher. Its monuments and museums should not be destroyed or canceled, especially in an effort to to dominate the present. They have a right to speak to us - and be heard." But who is listening now? That's scary.
Alan Bergstein, lecturer and columnist, is an editorial writer for The NY Jewish Voice and a retired NYC school principal A father of four, he is a Korean War veteran and Jewish activist who is President of the Judeo/Christian Republican Club of Palm Beach County, Florida.