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DAILY NEWS ANALYSIS

  • 22 August, 2020

  • 2 Min Read

Chora Museum 

Chora Museum

Context

  • Recently, the Turkish President reconverted the Chora museum into a mosque.
  • This is the second museum after Hagia Sophia to be converted into a mosque. Turkey has also found a new gas field in Black Sea.

Chora Museum:

  • It was built initially as a church in 534 AD, during the early Byzantine period.
  • In the 11th century, its internal walls, pillars and domes were covered with mosaics and frescoes showing scenes from biblical stories.
  • After the conquest of Constantinople (capital city of the Roman Empire) by the Ottomans (1453), the church was seized and turned into a mosque in 1511.
  • In 1945, it was converted into a museum.
  • Chora is also known as Kariye in Turkish and the mediaeval Church of the Holy Saviour in Chora.

Reason:

  • The reconversion can be seen as the Turkish President’s pro-Islamic policies, where he emphasises Turkey’s Ottoman history and domestic achievements over Western ideas and influences.
  • By adopting pro-Islamic policies the Turkish President aims to become the leader of the Muslim world.
  • The Turkish President has also taken anti-India positions, especially on Kashmir to bolster its own position in the Muslim world.
  • It can also be seen as a counter to the USA’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
  • Jerusalem has a significant population of Arab Muslims who are becoming more and more hostile because of the USA's recent stand on the Israel-Palestine issue. This step of conversion of mosques would gain the support of Arab countries for Turkey.

Gas Field in the Black Sea:

  • Recently, Turkey has found its biggest ever (a 320 billion cubic metre) natural gas field discovery in the Black Sea.
  • The gas field will become functional in 2023.
  • Turkey is determined to become a net energy exporter. The discovery has the potential to transform Turkey’s dependence on Russia, Iran and Azerbaijan for energy imports.
  • Currently, Turkey is having a chronic current account deficit, any reduction in Turkey’s energy import bill would boost its finances. \
  • It will also help the Lira (Currency of Turkey) to recover against the dollar.
  • Currently, Turkey is also having strained relations with its neighbour Greece over the exploration of natural resources in Mediterranean sea.

Source: TH


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