In the first Eastern Approaches podcast, Gevorg Virats, an analyst of the Near East with particular expertise on religious affairs, joins Alex Thomson to examine why Hagia Sophia (Aya Sofya) has been turned from a museum into a mosque, why the city where that building stands has several names, how Turkey is currently developing as a state, and how it relates to its many neighbours in a neighbourhood of continual instability. Is the region—from the Eastern Mediterranean and the Balkans in the west through to the northernmost Arab states and the Caucasus on Russia’s border—hurtling towards widespread war?
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