Turkey: On the anniversary of conquest of Constantinople, Muslims pray before Hagia Sophia demanding it be converted to a mosque

Turkish soldiers wearing Ottoman-era uniforms perform in Istanbul, Turkey, Saturday, May 30, 2015 during a rally to commemorate the 562nd anniversary of city’s conquest by the Ottoman Turks.

Men and women from across the country gathered before the Hagia Sophia museum early May 31, as part of an event organized by the Anatolian Youth Association (AGD) with the motto “Break the chains, Open Hagia Sophia,” and prayed the morning prayer with a call for the reconversion of the museum into a mosque.

Designed as a Christian basilica in the sixth century by Anthemios of Tralles and Isidorus of Miletus, Hagia Sophia is now a UNESCO World Heritage site…

unnamed-2A group of devout Muslims from across Turkey prayed before the city’s historic Hagia Sophia on the 562nd anniversary of the Turkish conquest of Istanbul, demanding that the site be turned back into a mosque.

And dont’s miss this: Surrounded by Ottoman soldiers, Erdoğan toughens rhetoric against New York Times: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has slammed the New York Times for the third time in a week.

“This newspaper had once called Ottoman Sultan Abdulhamid an ‘absolute monarch.’ And today it directs to the Republic of Turkey and me the hate that it once directed to the Ottoman state,” Erdoğan said at the May 30 event in Istanbul marking the 562nd anniversary of the Turks’ conquest of Istanbul.

Erdoğan was referring to the U.S. daily’s reports on Turkey’s Young Turk Revolution in 1908, which restored the Ottoman constitution of 1876, ending Sultan Abdulhamid’s rule with an iron fist. “Abdul Hamid’s reign as an absolute monarch is over. The forces of the Constitutionalists are in full possession of the capital after fierce fighting following an attack which began about 5 o’clock this morning, and in which the attacking troops used artillery,” an NYT report had said on April 25, 1909 [?!?].

As the June 7 general elections approach, Erdoğan has toughened his rhetoric against critical voices in the Turkish media, as well international outlets. Most recently, he slammed the New York Times during rallies on May 25 and May 26, over its May 22 editorial that criticized his “long history of intimidating and co-opting the Turkish media”…

unnamed-10The 478-man “Conquest Unit” formed by the Turkish Armed Forces on Erdoğan’s order to participate in the event marking the 562nd anniversary of the Turks’ conquest of Istanbul included Janissary soldiers.