Hagia Sophia converted back Into a mosque
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has ordered the Hagia Sophia museum, one of Istanbul's most famous landmarks, to be converted into a mosque.
Iran Press/Asia: Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared Istanbul's Hagia Sophia open to Muslim worship after a top court ruled that the building's conversion to a museum by modern Turkey's founding statesman was illegal.
The Hagia Sofia, a major draw for tourists, has a long and complicated history. The architectural marvel was built as a church by the Byzantines in the 6th century and then converted to a mosque after the Ottoman conquest of Constantinople in 1453.
In 1934, Turkish leader Mustafa Kemal Ataturk's cabinet decreed that it be turned into a museum. It is widely regarded as a symbol of peaceful religious coexistence.
Friday's court ruling invalidates the 1934 decree. It grants Turkey's president the authority to restore the museum to its status as a working mosque. The decision said the site is listed as a mosque in its title deed and that cannot be changed, Turkey's Anadolu news agency reported.