News World Turkish verdict paving way for Hagia Sophia mosque expected Friday - officials

Turkish verdict paving way for Hagia Sophia mosque expected Friday – officials

 

 

A Turkish court is likely to announce on Friday that the 1934 conversion of Istanbul’s Hagia Sophia into a museum was unlawful, two Turkish officials said, paving the way for its restoration as a mosque despite international concerns.

President Tayyip Erdogan has proposed restoring the mosque status of the sixth-century UNESCO World Heritage Site, which was central to both the Christian Byzantine and Muslim Ottoman empires and is now one of the most visited monuments in Turkey.

The prospect of such a move has raised alarm among U.S., Russian and Greek officials and Christian church leaders ahead of a verdict by Turkey’s top administrative court, the Council of State, which held a hearing last Thursday.

At issue is the legality of a decision taken in 1934, a decade after the creation of the modern secular Turkish republic under Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, to turn the ancient building into a museum.

“We expect the decision to be an annulment (and) the verdict to come out on Friday,” a senior Turkish official told Reuters.

An official from Erdogan’s ruling AK Party, which has Islamist roots, also said the decision “in favour of an annulment” was expected on Friday.

Pro-government columnist Abdulkadir Selvi wrote in the Hurriyet newspaper that the court had already made the annulment ruling and would publish it on Friday.

“This nation has been waiting for 86 years. The court lifted the chain of bans on Hagia Sophia,” he wrote.

The association that brought the case said Hagia Sophia was the property of Ottoman Sultan Mehmed II, who in 1453 captured the city, then known as Constantinople, and turned the already 900-year-old Byzantine church into a mosque.

Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, the spiritual head of some 300 million Orthodox Christians worldwide and based in Istanbul, said a conversion would disappoint Christians and “fracture” East and West. The head of Russia’s Orthodox Church said it would threaten Christianity.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Greece have also urged Turkey to maintain the museum status.

But Turkish groups have long campaigned for Hagia Sophia’s conversion, saying it would better reflect Turkey’s status as an overwhelmingly Muslim country.

(Reuters)

Top Stories

Greece makes representations over latest Turkish navtex

  Greece has made official representations to Ankara over its latest illegal maritime advisories, involving exploration in the Greek continental shelf off the island of...

Paphos supermarket employee fails to deliver 186 thousand in till money

  Police in Paphos are investigating a case of theft by a 53 year old employee of a major supermarket chain. According to a police report,...

Asia becomes second region to exceed 10m coronavirus cases

  Asia surpassed 10 million infections of the new coronavirus, the second-heaviest regional toll in the world, according to a Reuters tally, as cases continue...

Set your clocks-go back an hour tomorrow for the winter time

  Clocks go back an hour tomorrow for the winter time, though it still doesn't really feel like winter, mostly weather wise. At four tomorrow morning,...

Dozens of Covid charges as authorities intensify checks

  Police charged 34 individuals and 7 people with various offences connected to violations of relevant decrees against the spread of the coronavirus over the...

Taste

Squash soup

Ingredients: 1 kg pumpkin, cut into small cubes, approximately 5 cups 2 medium (400g) sweet potatoes, cut into cubes, approximately 2 ½ cups 1 chopped leek, only...

Mezedes

No visit to Cyprus is complete without enjoying the traditional meal of many small dishes known as ‘meze’. This large feast, which has been a...

Prawns with fried cheese, barley shaped pasta

Put the barley shaped pasta into a small pan with salted water, bring to a boil and when tender, drain. Peal the prawns leaving...

Salmon and shrimp sheftalies

Mix all ingredients for tabbouli in a bowl and keep to one side so flavours can combine. Prepare the sheftalies: wash and soak the casing...