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Hagia Sophia is open for prayers, but not to Kurds

The Turkish government has deliberately excluded the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party from political and symbolic events ever since July 2015. This has not destroyed Turkey’s third-largest party, but it has contributed to the rise of Kurdophobia.

The Hagia Sophia transitioned on July 24 to a mosque with Friday prayers and sermons. The prayer was “invitation only.” The discretion to invite was given exclusively to the Turkish Religious Affairs Directorate (the Diyanet). The Diyanet decided to omit the pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP). “This discrimination is against the constitution,” protested HDP members. Their pleas were ignored.

Indeed, this sort of discrimination “has become the norm since June 7, 2015,” when the peace process collapsed, said HDP parliament member Mahmut Togrul. The HDP has been excluded from almost all national gatherings, even to the post-July 15 National Unity Day events at Yenikapi Square in Istanbul. HDP members have little to no media presence and are not even allowed to participate in TV discussions about the HDP.

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