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Pro-gov’t journalist says Hagia Sophia move should be followed by restoration of caliphate

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TV presenter Fatin Dağıstanlı, who works for the pro-government Akit TV, has called for the restoration of the caliphate following a recent decision by the Turkish government to convert İstanbul’s ancient Hagia Sophia back into a mosque.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan last Friday signed a decree converting the Hagia Sophia to a mosque. The monument, which was a church before the conquest of İstanbul in 1453, became a mosque under Ottoman rule. Since the establishment of secular Turkey in 1923, it has served as a museum open to visitors for a fee.

During the “Sunday Major Story” program hosted by Dağıstanlı on Akit TV on Sunday, the journalist was discussing the conversion of Hagia Sophia with his guest, Musa Biçkioğlu, a tour guide who describes himself as an expert on Jerusalem.

“This message [concerning the conversion of Hagia Sophia] was important. This should be followed by the restoration of the caliphate. I am paying a lot of attention to this. … This will lead to both political and economic benefits. It will also be a very important development for the ummah,” said Dağıstanlı.

Following the establishment of Turkish Republic, the Turkish Parliament abolished the caliphate in 1924.

Erdoğan is frequently referred to as the “caliph” or the “leader of the Islamic ummah” by his supporters.

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