Is it only a matter of time until Turkey converts Hagia Sophia into a mosque?

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The Presidential Communication Director of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Fahrettin Altun, has given hints from his Twitter account that the Hagia Sophia cathedral will once again be converted into a Muslim mosque.

Altun on Sunday tweeted a photo of Hagia Sophia and said “We missed it! But be patient. We’ll make it happen together.”

Hagia Sophia is the spiritual home for Orthodox Christians, in the same way the Vatican is for Catholics or Mecca and Medina is for Muslims.

The world famous cathedral was completed in 537AD and served as the seat of the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople until 1453 when the Ottoman Turks captured Constantinople and turned it into a mosque. When the Muslims took over the cathedral, much of it was destroyed, including icons, mosaics, paintings, bells and the alter.

It was then turned into a museum in 1935.

Earlier this month, the Religious and Foundation Employees’ Union (Diyanet Bir-Sen) called for the first Friday prayer after the coronavirus pandemic to be performed in Hagia Sophia, as reported by Greek City Times. Friday is considered the Holy Day in Islam.

"Hagia Sophia is the means to bring about the resurrection of the world. We must all show together – with the first prayer in Hagia Sophia – that Turkey is not the old Turkey," said Bir-Sen Chairman, Hasan Türüt.

The Hagia Sophia cathedral is considered an architectural and artistic marvel built by the hands of Greeks. Although many mosques were built after the Turkish invasion of Constantinople in 1453, including the Blue Mosque directly opposite Hagia Sophia, none of them have come anywhere near the beauty of the cathedral.

Turkey has always threatened to convert Hagia Sophia back into a mosque from a museum, and the push for this is becoming stronger.

Twitter users in Turkey reaffirmed their "impatience" of waiting for the conversion, and some of them demanded that May 29, the anniversary of the Fall of Constantinople, be the date to do this.