Two years ago Turkish History professor, İlber Ortaylı, had warned of the dangers of such a move for the building. “What will we do if 3.5 million visitors a year ‘leaving behind’ one litre each? It is so absurd and the discussion so silly and stupid. No one can say what kind of effect it will have [sewers] on the structure of the building. We do not know the foundations underneath. Because there is no study, they do not allow any study,” he complained.
According to Ortaylı, Turkish authorities had been planning the move for 2 years. “You can not place a toilet everywhere. Do it at home. For 1,500 years, Hagia Sophia has not been a public toilet. For 1,500 years, people have not come to Hagia Sophia to use their toilet.”
Despite the criticisms and reactions, the project was assigned to Iras Yapı Organizasyon A.Ş for € 102,000. The business has close relations with politicians close to Turkish President Erdogan.
The toilets are scheduled to be completed by August 11, 2021.