567th anniversary of conquest of Istanbul marked at Hagia Sophia
ISTANBUL- Anadolu Agency
The conquest of Istanbul was celebrated on May 29, 567 years after Fatih Sultan Mehmet gained victory in Istanbul, with a special program in Hagia Sophia.
The Ministry of Culture and Tourism organized “Conquest Feast in Hagia Sophia” in coordination with the Turkish Presidency Directorate of Communications as part of celebrations throughout the day.
The program began with images taken by a drone of routes Fatih Sultan Mehmet navigated and arrived at Hagia Sophia by carrying ships on land while conquering Istanbul.
The program was followed with the recitation of the 48th chapter of the Quran, surah Al-Fath, with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan viewing via video.
Erdoğan expressed gratitude to all those who did not abandon Hagia Sophia, the heirloom of the conquest.
He stressed it was important to remember the 567th anniversary with prayers and surah Al-Fath.
Erdoğan said he had dedicated his life to his beloved Istanbul and noted that if the city was somehow removed from Earth, world history would have to be rewritten.
A presentation with the theme of the conquest of Istanbul was performed on a platform in front of the museum.
The Conquest Feast ended with a firework display from the Historic Peninsula.
Programs were broadcast on social media accounts, television channels and the YouTube channels of the Presidency and Directorate of Communications.
Turkey rebuts Greece on Quran session in Hagia Sophia
Meanwhile, Turkey on May 30 shot back at an objection from Greece on the reading of passages from the Muslim holy book, the Quran, Hagia Sophia.
Accusing Athens of making "futile and ineffective statements" on the event, Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman Hami Aksoy said Greece's displeasure illustrated its "intolerant psychology."
"The fact that Greece, the only remaining European country without a mosque in its capital, is disturbed by the recital of the Holy Quran in Hagia Sophia is a case in point illustrating the intolerant psychology of this country, especially at a time when calls to prayer can be heard from minarets in Europe and the importance of the principle of mutual respect is increasingly valued," said the written online statement.
Aksoy's statement came after earlier remarks from the Greek Foreign Ministry saying the move did not comply with the UNESCO Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage.
"Turkey has acted neither against the monumental status of Hagia Sophia, nor the 1972 UNESCO Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage. On the contrary, thanks to Turkey's care and
attention to the Historical Sites of Istanbul, these sites have survived for present generations as cultural heritages," Aksoy underlined.
He also criticized "recent efforts of certain circles in Greece" to use the novel coronavirus pandemic as a pretext to silence the Muslim call to prayer in Western Thrace "which has been recited for centuries."
Aksoy also emphasized that the Hagia Sophia would remain a "significant treasure of Turkey and humanity," and will continue to be protected as such.
"We invite Greece to free itself of its mindset deriving from history," he added.