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Hagia Sophia

The declaration of Hagia Sophia becoming a mosque has caused a shock all over the world, and it appears the only ones in glee are Turks and their media outlets.

Yeni Şafak spoke of a “resurrection” of Hagia Sophia and Türkiye reported on its front page “The suffering of the Hagia Sophia mosque is over. The 86-year-old chains are broken.” Sabah newspaper published the headline “Nostalgia for Hagia Sophia is over.”

According to Hürriyet, Hagia Sophia will be open for prayer but also for tourists who want to visit it. They said that icons and mosaics will be covered with special technology and lighting.

Specifically, special curtains will be used during Islamic prayer, while carpets will be placed on the floor which will be illuminated to darken the space and not show paintings.

This means that visitors to Hagia Sophia will have to take off their shoes to enter the temple.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is expected to decide the specific details on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, international condemnation to the conversion has been widespread.

Imam Nami Farhat said on Twitter “You forcefully occupy a Church, turn it into a Mosque and then preach about mercy and justice!”

The US State Department said it was “disappointed” by the conversion but made no other condemnation and only expected that Turkey ensures Hagia Sophia “remains accessible without impediment for all.”

The Russian Orthodox Church said it regretted that the court did not take its concerns into account and said the decision could lead to even greater divisions, TASS reported.

“Greece categorically condemns Turkey’s decision to convert Hagia Sophia to a mosque,” Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said, adding that the conversion “is an affront to its ecumenical character.”

“Furthermore, it is a decision that offends all those who recognise Hagia Sophia as an indispensable part of world cultural heritage. This decision clearly affects not only Turkey’s relations with Greece but also its relations with the European Union, UNESCO, and the world community as a whole,” he said.

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