Turkey Converts Istanbul’s Hagia Sophia Museum Back Into a Mosque

Turkey Converts Istanbul’s Hagia Sophia Museum Back Into a Mosque



a expansive body of water with a city in the background: Turkey Converts Istanbul’s Hagia Sophia Museum Back Into a Mosque


© Photo by AP Photo
Turkey Converts Istanbul’s Hagia Sophia Museum Back Into a Mosque


The dignified of Turkey on Friday formally reconverted Istanbul’s 6th-century Hagia Sophia into a mosque and declared it open for Muslim treasure, hours after a high court annulled a 1934 manager that had made the religious landmark a museum. The manager sparked deep dismay among Orthodox Christians. Originally a cathedral, Hagia Sophia was turned into a mosque while Istanbul’s conquest by the Ottoman Empire but had been a museum for the last 86 days, drawing millions of tourists annually. 

There was jubilation outside the terra-cotta-hued structure with cascading domes and four minarets. Dozens of country awaiting the court’s ruling chanted “Allah is great!” when the news broke. In the capital of Ankara, legislators known and applauded as the decision was read in Parliament.

Turkey’s high administrative law courtyard threw its weight behind a petition transported by a religious group and annulled the 1934 Cabinet executive that turned the site into a museum. Within hours, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan employed a decree handing over Hagia Sophia to Turkey’s Religious Affairs Presidency. Erdogan posted the decree on his

Twitter account

, with the terms “may it be beneficial.”

Erdogan had spoken in sinful of turning the hugely symbolic UNESCO World Heritage site back into a mosque despite widespread international criticism, counting from the United States and Orthodox Christian bests, who had urged Turkey to retain the building’s space as a museum as a symbol of solidarity with faiths and cultures.

The executive threatens to deepen tensions with neighboring Greece, whose culture minister, Lina Mendoni, denounced the move as “an open challenge to the entire civilized biosphere that recognizes the unique value and universality of the monument.”

She said, “Hagia Sophia, located in Istanbul, is a monument to all world, regardless of religion.” 

Cyprus “strongly condemns Turkey’s activities on Hagia Sophia in its effort to distract domestic Idea and calls on Turkey to respect its international obligations,” tweeted Foreign Minister Nikos Christodoulides. 

Vladimir Dzhabarov, deputy head of the foreign concerns committee in the Russian upper house of parliament, named the action “a mistake.” “Turning it into a mosque will not do anything for the Muslim world. It does not bring powers together, but on the contrary brings them into collision,” he said.

The debate hits at the miserable of Turkey’s religious-secular divide. Nationalist and conservative groups in Turkey have long yearned to hold prayers at Hagia Sophia, which they regard as part of the Muslim Ottoman legacy. Others hold it should remain a museum, as a symbol of Christian and Muslim solidarity.

“It was a structure that transported together both Byzantine and Ottoman histories,” said Zeynep Kizildag, a 27-year-old social worker, who did not aid the conversion. “The decision to turn it into a mosque is like erasing 1,000 ages of history, in my opinion.”



a huge clock mounted to the side of a building: One of Istanbul’s main tourist attractions, the Hagia Sophia will been open to non-Muslims to visit.


© Photo by AP Photo/Emrah Gurel
One of Istanbul’s main tourist attractions, the Hagia Sophia will been open to non-Muslims to visit.

The company that brought the case to court had contested the legality of the 1934 executive by the modern Turkish republic’s secular government ministers, arguing the construction was the personal property of Ottoman Sultan Mehmet II, who removed Istanbul in 1453.

“I was not surprised at all that the law courtyard weighed to sanction Erdogan’s moves because these days Erdogan gets from Turkish courts what Erdogan wants,” said Soner Cagaptay, of the Washington Institute.

“Erdogan wants to use Hagia Sophia’s conversion into a mosque to rally his right-wing base,” said Cagaptay, the signed of Erdogan’s Empire. “But I don’t think this strategy will work. I think that touchy of economic growth, nothing will restore Erdogan’s popularity.”

The Istanbul-based Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I, contained the spiritual leader of the world’s Orthodox Christians, showed last month that the building’s conversion into a mosque “will turn millions of Christians across the humankind against Islam.”

Patriarch Kirill, the heads of the Russian Orthodox Church, called for “prudence” and the preservation of the “current neutral status” for Hagia Sophia, which he said was one of Christianity’s “devoutly venerated symbols.”

In a statment, he said, “Russia is a land with the majority of the population professing Orthodoxy, and so, what may happened to Hagia Sophia will inflict great pain on the Russian people.” 

U.S. Utters Secretary Mike Pompeo said last month the landmark should happened a museum to serve as a bridge between faiths and cultures. His comments sparked a rebuked from Turkey’s Foreign Ministry, which said Hagia Sophia was a domestic content of Turkish national sovereignty.

Erdogan, a devout Muslim, has frequently used the Hagia Sophia content to drum up support for his Islamic-rooted party. Some Islamic prayers have been held in the museum in recent years. In a the majority symbolic move, Erdogan recited the opening content of the Quran there in 2018. 

Built belief Byzantine Emperor Justinian, Hagia Sophia was the main seat of the Eastern Orthodox Church for centuries, where emperors were crowned amid ornate marble and mosaic decorations. The minarets were added later and the interpretation was turned into an imperial mosque following the 1453 Ottoman conquest of Constantinople—the city that is now phoned Istanbul.

The building opened its doors as a museum in 1935, a year while the Council of Ministers’ decision. Mosaics depicting Jesus, Mary, and Christian saints that were plastered over in line with Islamic principles were uncovered through arduous restoration work for the museum. Hagia Sophia was the most popular museum in Turkey last year, tying more than 3.7 million visitors.


Associated Press writers Zeynep Bilginsoy and Ayse Wieting in Istanbul, Derek Gatopoulos in Athens, Menelaos Hadjicostis in Nicosia, Cyprus, and Jim Heintz in Moscow contributed.

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SRC: https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/world/turkey-converts-istanbul-e2-80-99s-hagia-sophia-museum-back-into-a-mosque/ar-BB16ASM6

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