Turkish High Court ruling paves way for Hagia Sophia to be converted into Mosque

10 July 2020
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The Turkish Supreme annulled the 1934 decision by which the then Turkish government turned the Hagia Sophia in Constantinople into a museum, CNN Turk reported.

Turkey’s Supreme Administrative Court ruled that Kemal Ataturk’s presidential decree of 1934 was invalid, a decision that paves the way for the monument to be converted into a mosque.

The next step is in the hands of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan who is called upon to make the final decision on whether or not to turn the UNESCO World Heritage site into an Islamic place of worship.

Shortly before the announcement of the decision, Erdogan’s son-in-law and Minister of Finance made a tweet using the verse of the poet Necip Fazıl Kısakürek: “Patience my young people! I don’t know if it will happen today or tomorrow, but Hagia Sophia will open.”

UNESCO told Reuters yesterday that Hagia Sophia had been included in the list of World Heritage Sites as a museum, meaning that the state where it is located has specific commitments and legal obligations.

This means that the country must “ensure that no alteration undermines the outstanding universal value of any monument included in the list in its territory,” the UN agency explained.

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