Recent legal news from Turkey has provoked concern among a number of commentators in both the art world and the Christian world. As reported in several news outlets, such as in this article which appeared in The Art Newspaper, Turkish courts have decided that a historic former church in the city of Trabzon can now be turned into a mosque. It is part of a slowly increasing seepage of more strictly Islamic thought and practice into secular Turkish law and politics, which has been underway for some time now.
The beautifully decorated Byzantine building dates from the 12th century; it was turned into a mosque in the 15th century, subsequently abandoned and used for various secular purposes, then restored and turned into a museum in the early 20th century. Many art historians and legal watchers believe that this is simply a legal test case, and a prelude to the great…
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