According to Turkish journalist Mehmet Ardıç, who is Erdogan’s secret adviser, Turkey’s Supreme Court decided to overturn Kemal Ataturk’s decision (from 1934), which turned Hagia Sophia into a museum.
“The Council of State unanimously canceled the Hagia Sophia decision dated 27.11.1934,” he tweeted.
This news comes as a representative of Turkey’s governing AKP, Numan Kurtulmuş, told Turkish media that on July 15, or even earlier, Hagia Sophia will be opened as a mosque “for prayer”.
The sole decision-making authority about the status of Hagia Sophia, a matter of Turkey’s national sovereignty, is only belong to Turkey.
We do not need anyone’s call or recommendation on our own affairs.
— Numan KURTULMUŞ (@NumanKurtulmus) July 1, 2020
Meanwhile, EU Commission spokesman Eric Mamer on Monday stated that Hagia Sophia is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the issue “must be seen through this perspective.”
Describing the monument as a “symbol of tolerance [and] dialogue,” Mamer said the debate about its status must not be used “to fuel any sort of dispute between religions.”
It is noted that six days ago, on July 2, the Turkish Supreme Court announced that a decision on whether Hagia Sophia will be converted 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.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has proposed turning the museum into a mosque against condemnations from UNESCO the US, the EU and others.
*It must be noted that the decision has not been officially announced.
The UNESCO World Heritage Site was built in 537 but turned into a mosque following the Ottoman capture of Constantinople May 29, 1453. It was then turned into a museum in 1935 shortly after the collapse of the Ottoman Empire and the establishment of Turkish Republic.
Earlier this year, excerpts from the Qur’an were recited inside Hagia Sophia to commemorate the Fall of Constantinople. The Greek Foreign Ministry commented on this provocative action, saying that the “reading of excerpts from the Qur’an inside Hagia Sophia, a UNESCO World Heritage Site as part of the World Cultural Heritage Site, and that has been a museum since 1935, is an unacceptable attempt to alter its monumental character and provoke a response to their religious sentiment.”