Newly-elected US senator John Fetterman wants to convert Turkey’s Hagia Sophia to museum
Democratic Party member John Fetterman, who was elected to the Senate in the midterm elections in the USA, called for the Hagia Sophia Mosque to be turned into a museum again, local media reported.
The midterm elections in the USA are over. In Pennsylvania, one of the critical states, in the elections where the Republicans could not achieve the expected result, the Democrats’ candidate John Fetterman took the lead. The Republican Party’s candidate, Dr Mehmet Oz, on the other hand, fell short of expectations.
As per a report by Middle East Eye, After the election victory, details about John Fetterman’s statements about Turkey and Hagia Sophia emerged.
In a statement to a Greek lobby group in the US in October, published after the elections, Fetterman said that the Democrat senator criticized Turkey’s approach to the Greek Orthodox Church and wanted the Hagia Sophia Mosque to be turned into a museum again.
Fetterman also argued that the freedoms of religious minorities in Turkey are at risk. Claiming that Turkey has imposed restrictions on the Fener Greek Patriarch Bartholomew, the new Senator said, “I strongly support President Biden and Foreign Minister Blinken’s goal of supporting the freedom of religious minorities in the region .”
Fetterman received great support from the Armenian and Greek lobby, which united against Mehmet Oz before the by-election.
On July 24, 2020, Hagia Sophia mosque reopened for worship for the first time in 86 years.
The iconic monument has served as a church for 916 years until the conquest of Istanbul. It then served as a mosque from 1453 to 1934 – nearly 500 years – and most recently as a museum for 86 years.
One of the most visited historical buildings in Turkey by local and international tourists, in 1985, during its time as a museum, Hagia Sophia was added to the UNESCO World Heritage list.
On July 10, 2020, a Turkish court annulled a 1934 cabinet decision that turned Hagia Sophia into a museum, paving the way for its use again as a mosque after an 86-year hiatus.
Besides being a mosque, Hagia Sophia is also among Turkey’s top tourism destinations and remains open for domestic and foreign visitors.
Who is John Fetterman?
John Karl Fetterman was born in 1969 in Pennsylvania. He graduated from Albright College with a bachelor’s degree in finance. He then earned a Master of Business Administration from the University of Connecticut in 1993.
Fetterman worked as an underwriter for two years. While Fetterman was studying at UConn, his best friend died in a car accident. This event had an impact on Fetterman’s life and career.
After the death of his friend, he started working in charities. He attended Harvard Kennedy School and graduated in 1999 with a Master of Public Policy. Moved to Braddock in 2004.
Fetterman served as Braddock’s part-time mayor and full-time director of the city’s youth program.
Fetterman also founded Braddock Redux, a nonprofit organization.
He won the mayoral election in 2005. Fetterman took office as Deputy Governor of Pennsylvania on January 15, 2019.