Hagia Sophia re-converted into a mosque

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Hagia Sophia: Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkish President converted Istanbul’s Hagia Sophia into a mosque, after a court ruled that a 1930s decision to make the iconic building into a museum was unlawful.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan shared on Twitter that he had handed the majestic domed building over to the government’s directorate of religious affairs to open it up to worshipers. Soon after the decision, state media broadcast video of crowds gathering outside the sixth-century structure.

Image: President Recep Tayyip Erdogan visits the Hagia Sophia in 2018.
Recep Tayyip Erdogan visits the Hagia Sophia.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan proposed restoring the UNESCO World Heritage site into a mosque, placing an almost 1,500-year-old building at the center of a struggle between those who want to preserve Turkey’s secular roots and the president’s aspirations. Erdogan said the first prayers inside Hagia Sofia will be held on July 24, 2020.

“I underline that we will open Hagia Sophia to worship as a mosque by preserving its character of humanity’s common cultural heritage,” he said that it was Turkey’s sovereign right to decide what the building would be used for. In the 20th century, it was turned into a museum that attracts millions of tourists every year.

Image: Hagia Sophia
Hagia Sophia, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, in Istanbul, Turkey, in June. 

People in Turkey will welcome this decision, and see it as a victory for Erdogan’s plans for the secular but Muslim dominant country.

The reactions on these decisions are: “With Erdogan’s rule, Turkey will be a more powerful country in the near future,”. another person said: “There is no need to be secular anymore.”.another person said: “Mehmet the Conqueror took the holy city with his sword, he always wanted Hagia Sophia to be a mosque,”

This site has been a part of an old struggle over the identity of the region that sits between the East and the West between Christianity and Islam.

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