The Anatolia Youth Association announced a gathering at the iconic location with slogans such as “take your prayer mat and come” and “we meet at the Hagia Sophia Mosque for the morning prayer.” And so the group gathered at the Hagia Sophia Square, coming from all around Istanbul and the surrounding province before disbanding around midnight following a collective prayer.
“Let the chains break,” was their slogan. “Let Hagia Sophia be open.” This organization, which uses prayer for activism, deserves a closer look — for while the association seems to prioritize religion, this issue is actually quite political.
Let us put the debates revolving around it aside for a moment, and remember that the Hagia Sophia is a magical place before all. It offers a state of eternal encounter to the visitors with its wondrous icons and calligraphy referring to both Christianity and Islam. This is a middle world where people can place themselves without any prerequisite identification.