Istanbul, July 11
The first prayers at Istanbul’s Hagia Sophia, a 1,500-year-old UNESCO World Heritage website which has now been transformed right into a mosque, will happen on July 24, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan stated.
“We plan to open the Hagia Sophia to worshipping on July 24 with Friday prayers,” Xinhua information company quoted Erdogan as saying whereas addressing the nation on Friday.
“Like all our mosques, the doors of Hagia Sophia will be wide open to locals and foreigners, Muslims and non-Muslims,” he added.
Earlier on Friday, the Turkish State Council accepted the conversion of the historic museum right into a mosque.
“It was concluded that the settlement deed allocated it as a mosque and its use outside this character is not possible legally,” the Council stated in its ruling.
“The cabinet decision in 1934 that ended its use as a mosque and defined it as a museum did not comply with laws.”
In his tackle to the nation, Erdogan stated that the nation would welcome each view on this matter, “but the issue of what purpose the Hagia Sophia will be used for concerns Turkey’s sovereign rights”.
Shortly after the Council’s announcement, the primary name to prayer was recited at Hagia Sophia and was broadcast on all of Turkey’s most important information channels, the BBC reported.
The cultural website’s social media channels have now been taken down.
Built 1,500 years in the past as an Orthodox Christian cathedral, Hagia Sophia was transformed right into a mosque after the Ottoman conquest in 1453.
In 1934, it grew to become a museum and is now a UNESCO World Heritage website.
Islamists in Turkey lengthy known as for it to be transformed to a mosque however secular opposition members opposed the transfer. The proposal prompted criticism from non secular and political leaders worldwide.
Friday’s determination has additionally led to widespread criticism.
The UNESCO has stated it “deeply regrets” the choice to show the museum right into a mosque and known as on the Turkish authorities to “open a dialogue without delay”, the BBC reported.
The organisation had urged Turkey to not change its standing with out dialogue.
The head of the Eastern Orthodox Church has condemned the transfer, as has Greece — house to many thousands and thousands of Orthodox followers.
The Church in Russia, house to the world’s largest Orthodox Christian neighborhood, instantly expressed remorse that the Turkish court docket had not taken its considerations into consideration when ruling on Hagia Sophia.
It stated the choice might result in even better divisions.
Turkey’s most well-known creator, Orhan Pamuk stated the choice would take away the “pride” some Turks had in being a secular Muslim nation.
“There are millions of secular Turks like me who are crying against this but their voices are not heard,” he instructed the BBC.
US ‘disappointed’ by Turkey’s determination on Hagia Sophia
The United States stated that it was “disappointed” by the Turkish authorities’s determination of adjusting Istanbul’s iconic Hagia Sophia museum right into a mosque.
“We are disappointed by the decision by the government of Turkey to change the status of the Hagia Sophia,” State Department spokesperson Morgan Ortagus stated in an announcement on Friday, Xinhua information company reported.
“We understand the Turkish Government remains committed to maintaining access to the Hagia Sophia for all visitors and look forward to hearing its plans for continued stewardship of the Hagia Sophia to ensure it remains accessible without impediment for all,” she added. IANS