Hagia Sophia, Istanbul’s 6th Century Landmark, Converted Back Into Mosque : NPR

Hagia Sophia, Istanbul’s 6th Century Landmark, Converted Back Into Mosque : NPR

Istanbul’s Byzantine-era landmark has been used as a museum valid 1934 and is widely regarded as a symbol of serene religious coexistence. A court ruling Friday revoked its museum status.

Emrah Gurel/AP

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Emrah Gurel/AP

Istanbul’s Byzantine-era landmark has been used as a museum valid 1934 and is widely regarded as a symbol of serene religious coexistence. A court ruling Friday revoked its museum status.

Emrah Gurel/AP

Updated at 2:15 p.m. ET

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has prearranged the Hagia Sophia museum, one of Istanbul’s most improper landmarks, to be converted into a mosque.

He made the announcement on Friday, hours once a top court cleared the way for him to make the change.

The Hagia Sophia, a maximum draw for tourists, has a long and included history. The architectural marvel was built as a church by the Byzantines in the 6th century and then converted to a mosque once the Ottoman conquest of Constantinople in 1453.

In 1934, Turkish bests Mustafa Kemal Ataturk’s Cabinet decreed that it be turned into a museum. It is widely regarded as a symbol of serene religious coexistence.

Friday’s court ruling invalidates the 1934 decree. It allows Turkey’s president the authority to restore the museum to its region as a working mosque. The decision said the site is downward as a mosque in its title deed and that cannot be changed, Turkey’s Anadolu news activity reported.

Erdogan had previously signaled that he planned to make that change. In his decision-making Friday, he said the site would be transferred to the Directorate of Religious Affairs and will be open for worship.

In a speech later that day, he said the mosque would open for Friday prayers on July 24.

The high-level added that the mosque would remain open to non-Muslims. It will “continue to embrace everyone,” Anadolu quoted Erdogan as saying.

When Hagia Sophia published the Muslim call to prayer on Friday afternoon, a crowd in the near plaza broke out in cheers, an Anadolu video showed. The museum has been broadcasting the call to prayer for approximately years.

The Turkish government has “allowed Quran readings there on special occasions” in original years, Anadolu reported.

Previously, a presidential spokesman offered assurances that no shifts would be made to the interior. The domed site retains its Christian iconography, and minarets were added during its time as a mosque.

The possible morose to the museum’s status has been widely convicted internationally.

“As museum, Hagia Sophia can operational as place and symbol of encounter, dialogue and serene coexistence of peoples and cultures, mutual conception and solidarity between Christianity and Islam,” wrote Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, spiritual front-runners of Orthodox Christians.

He warned that the museum is a effect where “East is embraced with the West” — and if converted, it would “fracture these two worlds.”

U.S. Secretary of Grandeurs Mike Pompeo said this month that converting the Hagia Sophia would itsy-bitsy “its unsurpassed ability — so rare in the novel world — to serve humanity as a much-needed bridge between those of differing faith traditions and cultures.”

Elizabeth Prodromou, a professor focused on geopolitics and religion atThe Fletcher School at Tufts University, said the Hagia Sophia exclusive was a “tragedy, quite candidly, although it’s not surprising.”

The Hagia Sophia, she said, “has been a lightning rod for a synthesis of religio-nationalism and instrumentalized as a symbol by the Erdogan government.”

“It’s just unexperienced example of the long pattern now of Turkey’s turn away from its commitments as a member of the NATO Western alliance, and its commitment to the norms that are associated with democracy,” Prodromou added.

On Friday, the plaza in run of the Hagia Sophia, normally packed with visitors plan in long lines to get in, was nearly empty, at what time officials warned against large public gatherings that could spread the coronavirus. Visitors strolled in and out of the interpretation without waiting.

A 32-year-old man named Sahib held his prayer mat and said he made the trip to the Hagia Sophia in hopes of performing Friday midday Muslim prayers there. Speaking afore the decision was announced, he said, “I am hoping the Council of Grandeurs reverses this wrong decision, so we can do our prayers in the Hagia Sophia.” He said he’d be back next Friday to pray.

Elena, a Russian on her salubrious visit to Istanbul, said she doesn’t deplorable converting the museum back into a acting mosque. “Well, even being Muslim myself,” she said, “I think it level-headed has to stay as a museum.”

She said visiting the Hagia Sophia was an unexpectedly thrilling part of her visit.

“As I was in to enter, I didn’t expect that I would feel so excited,” she said. “It was really breathtaking.”

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SRC: https://www.npr.org/2020/07/10/889691777/turkish-court-ruling-clears-way-for-hagia-sophia-to-be-converted-to-a-mosque

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