Hagia Sophia: Turkey turns legendary Istanbul museum into mosque

Hagia Sophia: Turkey turns iconic Istanbul museum into mosque

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Getty Photographs

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The Hagia Sophia has big significance as a religious and as a political image

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has signed a decree converting Hagia Sophia in Istanbul – launched as a cathedral – into a mosque.

Before Turkey’s top rated administrative court annulled the museum position of the globe-well known cultural internet site.

Founded 1,500 a long time-back as a cathedral, the Ottomans made Hagia Sophia a mosque. But in 1934 it became a museum.

It is a Unesco Entire world Heritage website. Unesco urged Turkey not to change its status with no discussion.

Islamists in Turkey have lengthy called for it to be converted to a mosque, but secular opposition customers have opposed the move. The proposal has prompted criticism, from religious and political leaders worldwide.

The head of the Eastern Orthodox Church has condemned the proposal, as has Greece – dwelling to lots of hundreds of thousands of Orthodox followers.

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Mr Erdogan’s decree palms command of the Ayasofya Mosque, as it is known in Turkish, to Turkey’s religious directorate, to reopen it for worship.

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The web page is now a single of Turkey’s most frequented tourist sights

Modern day Turkey’s founder Mustafa Kemal Ataturk accredited Hagia Sophia’s standing as a museum in 1934, and due to the fact then it has been a image of secularism, open to all faiths.

But the Council of State, Turkey’s top rated administrative court docket, explained in its ruling on Friday: “It was concluded that the settlement deed allotted it as a mosque and its use outdoors this character is not doable lawfully”.

“The cabinet conclusion in 1934 that ended its use as a mosque and defined it as a museum did not comply with legal guidelines,” it explained.

The Russian Orthodox Church straight away expressed regret that the Turkish court did not just take its issues into account when ruling on Hagia Sophia, Tass news agency documented.

It mentioned the determination could guide to even higher divisions.

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The cathedral was the major in the entire world right up until the 16th century

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