Fear among Turkey’s already marginalised Christians is growing as President Recep Tayyip Erdoğanh has been increasingly pushing nationalist policies, Politico said on Wednesday.
For Turkey’s Christians, the decision to reconvert the Hagia Sophia into a mosque represents yet another blow to their already marginalised community, Politico said.
“There is an Islamist and nationalist atmosphere that makes it uncomfortable for Christians in Turkey. I fear this [conversion] might cause tensions, although today is not harder than it was a hundred years ago,” Politico cited Yetvart Danzikyan, the editor-in-chief of Istanbul’s Armenian newspaper Agos, as saying.
Hagia Sophia’s reconversion was only the latest “step of nationalism” by Erdoğan’s conservative government, Danzikyan said.
“All Christian minorities and seculars are unhappy and feel fear. Some younger Christians are thinking of leaving Turkey and moving to Western countries,” he said.
Erdoğan has long been accused of adopting a mixture of Ottomanism and Islamist policies, and trying to scapegoat religious minorities for his failures.