The Turkish tourism authority took out a full-page ad in an Austrian newspaper today. It had a picture of the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul with a blurb about tolerance and “unity.” The point was that the Hagia Sophia — having been both a church and a mosque, complete with Christian icons and Islamic minarets — is a shining beacon of Christian-Muslim cooperation.
What utter bollocks. Um, why exactly did the Sancta Sophia become a mosque? Ah, yes, that’s right, I seem to remember something about the siege of Constantinople, some bloke called Mehmed, and the slaughter of Byzantine civilians.
Sorry, Turkey, that doesn’t work. Beautiful ch-mosque though. Lovely museum inside.