A decision on whether Hagia Sophia will be converted into a mosque will be made within 15 days, Turkey’s Daily Sabah reported Thursday.
“The hearing lasted about 17 minutes. The Council of State completed the hearing to explain later the 10th Ministry’s decision on the request for Hagia Sophia. The Council of State will announce its decision within 15 days,” the court said in a statement.
Turkey’s Supreme Court was expected to rule today on whether Hagia Sophia will be turned into a mosque or remain as a museum.
In particular, a request for consideration as to whether Kemal Ataturk’s signature on the 1934 decree on the conversion of Hagia Sophia into a museum is authentic or false.
If the appeal is upheld, then the effort to turn Hagia Sophia into a mosque will begin as it revokes the decree that it is a museum.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has proposed turning the museum into a mosque against condemnations from UNESCO the US, the EU and others. He pushes this as his popularity declines in light of Turkey’s struggling economy and failed wars of aggression in Syria and Libya.
Hagia Sophia was the greatest church in Christendom for 900 years before it was turned into a mosque, a status it held for around 500 years.
Saygı Öztürk, a columnist for Sözcü, believes that Turkey’s courts will come to the conclusion that it does not have the jurisdiction to turn Hagia Sophia into a mosque and that it is a political decision, not a legal one.
“When we examine previous decisions and jurisprudence of the Council of State, it is understood that the issue of re-converting Hagia Sophia into a mosque requires not a legal but a political decision. As a matter of fact, this direction has been decided in the past. The judiciary should decide according to the law, not the political period, political events. This is what is expected from the Council of State,” he said.