Update: President Erdogan has formally changed the status of Hagia Sophia to a mosque.
ANKARA—A Turkish court annulled on Friday a 1934 government decree turning Istanbuls Hagia Sophia into a museum, paving the way for the buildings conversion back into a mosque despite international warnings against such a move.
President Tayyip Erdogan had proposed restoring the mosque status of the UNESCO World Heritage Site, a focal point of both the Christian Byzantine and Muslim Ottoman empires and now one of the most-visited monuments in Turkey.
The United States, Greece, and church leaders were among those to express concern about changing the status of the huge 6th century building, which was converted into a museum in the early days of the modern secular Turkish state under Mustafa Kemal Ataturk.
“It was concluded that the settlement deed allocated it as a mosque and its use outside this character is not possible legally,” the Council of State, Turkeys top administrative court, said in a ruling.
“The cabinet decision in 1934 that ended its use as a mosque and defined it as a museum did not comply with laws,” it said.
The association which brought the court case, the latest in a 16-year legal battle, said Hagia Sophia was thRead More – Source