UNESCO says World Heritage Committee to review Hagia Sophia

Turkey's ancient Hagia Sofia can be converted to a mosque, court rules

Court ruling paves way for Istanbul's Hagia Sophia to revert to mosque

"The cabinet decision in 1934 that ended its use as a mosque and defined it as a museum did not comply with laws".

"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 said.

While France's Foreign Ministry said on July 2 that the sixth-century structure must remain open to all, Greece said that Turkey risked opening up "a huge emotional chasm" with Christian countries if it pressed ahead with a proposal to convert the Hagia Sophia museum into a mosque.

The Council of State, Turkey's most noteworthy regulatory court, consistently dropped a 1934 bureau choice and said Hagia Sophia was enlisted as a mosque in its property deeds. It attracts millions of tourists each year.

"The concerns of millions of Christians were not heard", Church spokesman Vladimir Legoida told Interfax news agency.

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Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden also said on Friday he deeply regretted Turkey's decision.

"It is regrettable that the Turkish decision was not the subject of dialogue nor notification beforehand", the United Nation's cultural body said in a statement.

But it is the European Union, as the world's standard-bearer for the preservation of historic monuments, that has a particular duty to lead the Western world in making certain that the loss of one of mankind's greatest architectural accomplishments to a nationalist and religious movement never happens.

The Greek Orthodox Community of Melbourne & Victoria strongly condemns the Turkish Republic's decision to reinstate the World Heritage listed cultural icon - Hagia Sofia (Αγία Σοφία) - back into a Mosque. Following the Fall of Constantinopole, Hagia Sophia was converted into a mosque.

In 1453, the Ottoman Empire under Sultan Mehmed II captured Constantinople.

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"Hagia Sophia is the crowning moment of Erdogan's religious revolution which has been unfolding in Turkey for over a decade", he said, pointing to greater emphasis on religion in education and across government.

Earlier in the day, Finance and Treasury Minister Berat Albayrak and Justice Minister Abdülhamit Gül expressed their expectations of opening the Hagia Sophia to worship for the Muslims in separate tweets. "The court lifted the chain of bans on Hagia Sophia", he wrote. Erdogan's move has also sparked widespread anger in Russia, with Kremlin and Russian Orthodox officials describing the mosque proposal as "an unacceptable violation of religious freedom".

"The accusations made against our country regarding the Hagia Sophia means a direct attack on our sovereignty", he said. Hundreds of worshippers performed evening prayers outside the building after the adjustment to its status. "We are very excited, proud, and hopeful that there will be lovely services here", he added. "Well, even being Muslim myself", she said, "I think it still has to stay as a museum". "(Hagia Sophia) belongs to us".

Crowds were observed to be gathered in front of the Hagia Sophia after news broke out on the status change.

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