Erdogan Signs Decree Allowing Hagia Sophia to Be Used as a Mosque Again

Mr. Erdogan defended the choice as Turkey’s proper and stated it represented the need of many Turks. He added that the motion of turning it from a mosque into a museum 80 years in the past had been unlawful, however pledged that the mosque would proceed to be open to Muslims and non-Muslims alike.

“Hagia Sophia, the frequent heritage of humanity, will go ahead to embrace everybody with its new standing in a way more honest and way more distinctive means,’’ he stated in a stay tv handle.

Entry to the monument can be freed from cost, foregoing the ticket worth from a number of million guests a 12 months, and the primary prayers inside Hagia Sophia will happen on July 24. Just earlier than he spoke, a number of hundred individuals gathered outdoors Hagia Sophia to have a good time a prayer of thanksgiving, recording the decision of the muezzin on their telephones, after which bent in unison for the night prayer on the esplanade in entrance of the constructing.

Mr. Erdogan might select to maintain prayers solely on ceremonial events, as he did to mark the anniversary of the Ottoman conquest of the town in May. But his supporters might demand freedom to enter the constructing for every day prayers.

Conservationists and artwork historians have raised issues about what’s going to occur to the medieval mosaics inside Hagia Sophia, which depict the Holy Family and portraits of imperial Christian emperors, which strict Muslims might demand be coated. Tour guides stated that the constructing could also be closed to vacationers throughout prayer instances, and even that elements of the constructing be sectioned off to non-Muslims.

A.Ok.P. social gathering officers recommended holding the primary Muslim prayers in Hagia Sophia, or Ayasofya by its Turkish identify, on July 15 to mark the anniversary of a failed coup in 2016 towards Mr. Erdogan’s authorities, throughout a dialogue in regards to the change of standing in June, the Turkish every day, Hurriyet, reported.

The court docket resolution got here as the fruits of a four-year marketing campaign by an obscure cultural affiliation that made authorized purposes to restore a variety of monuments, together with a number of Byzantine church buildings, as mosques. Hagia Sophia would be the fourth Byzantine church museum to be restored as a mosque underneath Mr. Erdogan, however by far essentially the most important one. In November, the well-known Chora monastery church in Istanbul had its standing as a museum revoked.

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