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September 14, 2018

Hagia Sophia To Remain a Museum


The Constitutional Court of Turkey, Turkey's top court, decided on Thursday 13 September 2018 that Hagia Sophia will not be turned into a place of Muslim worship after an appeal made by a private organization called “Authority for Historical Monuments and Environment”.

The Temple that was built in the 6th Century AD by the Roman Emperor Justinian as a Christian Cathedral, is now a Museum and will remain a Museum.

The organization had requested the Turkish government in 2004 to make arrangements to open Hagia Sophia as a mosque but did not receive a response.

Then, in 2015, they appealed to the Council of State, which rejected their request.

In its plea, the association had claimed that barring prayers at Hagia Sophia was breaching the right to freedom of expression and conscience.

Hagia Sophia was turned into a museum accessible to all by the secular founders of modern Turkey in the 1930s. Secular Turks are wary of any moves to re-Islamise the building or have it reconsecrated as a mosque.

There has in recent years under the rule of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan been an increase in Muslim activity inside the museum, with Koran readings taking place on occasion.