Turkey says will inform UNESCO about Hagia Sophia moves

Turkey says will inform UNESCO about Hagia Sophia moves

People pose for a picture in front of Hagia Sophia, or Ayasofya-i Kebir Camii, in Istanbul
People pose for a picture in front of Hagia Sophia, or Ayasofya-i Kebir Camii, which the Turkish president declared to be open to Muslim worship after a court ruling, in Istanbul, Turkey, Jul 11, 2020. (REUTERS/Murad Sezer)

ISTANBUL: Turkey will inform the United Nation's cultural body UNESCO about steps being taken regarding Istanbul's Hagia Sophia, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Monday (Jul 13), after Ankara converted the museum back into a mosque.

On Friday, a Turkish court ruled that the sixth-century building's conversion to a museum was unlawful and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan declared that it is now a mosque. Cavusoglu was speaking in an interview with state broadcaster TRT Haber.

READ: Erdogan rebuffs criticism over Hagia Sophia conversion to mosque

UNESCO said on Friday it would review the status of the monument as a World Heritage Site following Erdogan's announcement. 

Hagia Sophia was a Byzantine church for nine centuries before the Ottomans converted it to a mosque.

Transforming the Hagia Sophia into a museum was a key reform of the post-Ottoman Turkish authorities under the modern republic's founder Mustafa Kemal Ataturk.

Calls for it to serve again as a mosque had raised anger among Christians and tensions between historic foes and uneasy North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) allies Turkey and Greece.

Source: Reuters/kv

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