Turkish women scratch the inner walls of the cradle of Orthodoxy, picking up small pieces and even dust in plastic bags. The reason was the belief that it brings good luck.
They keep the stolen items as souvenirs, thus damaging the 1500-year-old monument, which is under the protection of UNESCO.
Images of the “new hobby” were posted first on Turkish social media and then on Turkish media websites that support opposition parties that express concerns about protecting the monument.
Bazı ziyaretçiler, Ayasofya’daki tarihi yapıları kazıyıp poşetlere doldurmaya başladı. pic.twitter.com/3bMj6Qsub9
— Vaziyet (@vaziyetcomtr) May 23, 2022
“Now they are tearing pieces off the walls and putting them in bags like talismans. Where is the respect, protection of cultural heritage in Hagia Sophia, built 1485 years ago? Before things get worse, please stop them. This is unthinkable…,” wrote a Turkish user on Twitter.
Architect Seda Ozen Bilgilireportedly noted: “I believe that those who remove parts, considering them sacred, are foreign guests, and if there is research, this will be determined. Tourists used to make souvenirs from mosaics!”
The Ministry of Culture and Tourism must return to the Hagia Sophia and protect the territory of the first floor, which is visited by the guests of the temple. The common heritage of mankind cannot be “protected” by experiments. It is very sad to read such news,” Bilgili added.
Turkish media, which turned to the Ministry of Culture for comments on the new act of vandalism in the Hagia Sophia, have not yet received any response.
A new act of vandalism occurred a month after damage to the Imperial Gate of Hagia Sophia in April.
It should be noted that Turkish citizens, especially in those parts of the country where many Greeks lived (especially in Istanbul), despite the fact that they are now Muslims, go to churches on the name day of Orthodox saints or in honor of the Virgin Mary. Basically, these are Turkishized Greeks, Armenians, Syrians and representatives of other nationalities who, for various reasons, officially changed their faith, but remained crypto-Christians in their souls.
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