Makers of Hagia Sophia movie thank Daily News

Makers of Hagia Sophia movie thank Daily News

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
Makers of Hagia Sophia movie thank Daily News

Director and scriptwriter Göksel Gülensoy (4L) is seen in the Hagia Sophia with the diving team in this file photo. Hürriyet photo, Levent KULU

The director and scriptwriter of a Hagia Sophia documentary that appeared in Dan Brown’s new book “Inferno” thanked the Hürriyet Daily News for contributing to the film’s reference in the book. “Dan Brown is a chance for us, and the greatest actor enabling this chance is the Hürriyet Daily News. Thanks to them, we could make contact with Dan Brown,” the film’s director and producer, Göksel Gülensoy, said.

The documentary, which was completed despite many financial constraints, will come out in Turkey in fall, according to Gülensoy. The documentary might have only been screened at international film festivals if Brown had not made a reference to it, Gülensoy said.

Gülensoy said they had received the required authorizations for shootings with great difficulty, and engaged in a series of research and studies for years in order to reveal unknown facts about the Hagia Sophia.

“We received the required authorizations with great difficulty. I would have been responsible in case of an accident or a death in tunnels, while the ministry and the Hagia Sophia Directorate would not be responsible. Sometimes one should take risks to realize something. We faced many difficulties during shootings. Sometimes we took only 50 meters in three hours; there were time constraints. The limitations were making our work difficult both materially and morally,” Gülensoy said.

Hidden content

 “I can only say that what is beneath the Hagia Sophia is much more exciting than above the surface. We are keeping the details for the documentary,” he said.

Gülensoy also criticized the view regarding the Hagia Sophia only as a tourist attraction. “There are many things required to do for this structure,” he said.

About the discussions of opening the Hagia Sophia as a mosque, he said, “Reasonable authorities would use this structure as it is used now. The structure, which is the oldest building in usable condition and belongs to both Muslims and Christians, should be neither a church nor a mosque.”

Meanwhile, the scriptwriter Kutsi Akıllı said the documentary, which is to be sent to international festivals, would come out in September or October in Turkey and would draw more attention than Brown’s book. Akıllı shared an anecdote he learned during their research. “According to Professor Semavi Eyice [an art historian specializing in Byzantine studies], a group of people attempted to burn [the Hagia Sophia] during World War I since they thought that the non-Muslims would leave if it was burned. The fire was prevented at the last moment.”