World Council of Churches requests Turkey not to convert Hagia Sophia museum into a mosque

Sunday, 12 July 2020 - 9:58

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The World Council of Churches has called on Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to reverse his decision to turn the celebrated Hagia Sophia museum back into a mosque

The president announced his decision on Friday following a court ruling which annulled its museum status and the 1,500-year-old building was approved to be converted into an Islamic mosque at the request of the government.

Originally a Christian church, the building was converted into an Islamic church by the Ottoman emperor in 1853. 

The Unesco World Heritage site in Istanbul has been operating as a museum since 1934.

Hagia Sophia is Turkey's most popular tourist site, attracting more than 3.7 million visitors a year