Recently, the Turkish government converted the traditional Ayasofya museum into a mosque, which highlights a diversion from the secular nature of Turkey. This mosque is 900 years old and was converted into a museum by Kamal Ataturk in 1934-35, signifying the secular character and political system of Turkey. The museum reflects the cultural heritage of the Ottoman empire and this culture transcends religious faith. Many tourists, especially Muslims, visit it but by turning it into a mosque, mostly Muslims will attend it. Hence, this conversion denies the notion of peaceful existence and removes the secular nature of Kemalist Turkey. Moreover, Erdogan can solidify his rightist political base. But the tendency of establishing political legitimacy through religion has serious implications for the democratic process and for political development. This fear looms over the world through the rise of authoritarianism and due to populist leaders like Erdogan, Modi, Trump, Imran Khan who defy the notion of peaceful existence. To conclude, Erdogan is erasing the ideology of love and tolerance and is opening a path for bigotry and narrow-mindedness.

ABDULLAH MAYAR,

Mardan.