Turkey will convert the Hagia Sophia cultural site back into a functioning mosque. The millenary place of worship was turned into a museum in 1934.
The country’s top administrative court annulled Hagia Sophia’s status as a museum early on Friday morning. Shortly after, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan signed a presidential decree that transferred management of the site from the Ministry of Culture to the Diyanet, Turkey’s Directorate of Religious Affairs.
“It was concluded that the settlement deed allocated it as a mosque and its use outside this character is not possible legally,” the court ruled. “The cabinet decision in 1934 that ended its use as a mosque and defined it as a museum did not comply with laws.”
People chant slogans following Turkey’s Council of State’s decision, outside the Byzantine-era Hagia Sophia, one of Istanbul’s main tourist attractions in the historic Sultanahmet district of Istanbul, Friday, July 10, 2020. (AP Photo/Emrah Gurel)