Turkey's top court will leave Hagia Sophia decision to Erdoğan, columnist says 2

Turkey’s top court will not make a legal ruling on whether to allow Hagia Sophia to be converted into a mosque, Turkish columnist Saygı Öztürk said.

The judges will say that changing the status of the building is a political decision, not a legal one, Öztürk said in the Sözcü newspaper on Wednesday, referring to a similar ruling in 2012.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has called for Islamic prayer to be held at the former Greek Orthodox cathedral and has slammed international opposition to the plan, led by neighbour Greece.

On Thursday, Turkey announced that the decision on whether Hagia Sophia turns into a mosque, will be made within 15 days, as reported by Greek City Times.

“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.

Erdoğan’s government is then expected to decide to abolish Hagia Sophia’s status as a museum, Öztürk said.

Meanwhile, The French Foreign Ministry demanded that Hagia Sophia remain “open to all”, a few hours after the Turkish State Council considered the request to turn the museum into a mosque.

“A symbol of secularism and multiculturalism, this place must remain open to all”, a ministry spokesman said, sending a message to Turkey and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan about the need to respect the monument.