Middle East

Turkey will inform UNESCO about Hagia Sophia moves, minister says

ISTANBUL (Reuters) — Turkey will inform the United Nation’s cultural body UNESCO about steps being taken regarding Istanbul’s Hagia Sophia, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Monday, after Ankara converted the museum back into a mosque.

On Friday, a Turkish court ruled that the sixth-century building’s conversion to a museum was unlawful and President Tayyip Erdogan declared that it is now a mosque. Cavusoglu was speaking in an interview with state broadcaster TRT Haber.

UNESCO said on Friday it would review the status of the monument as a World Heritage Site following Erdogan’s enouncement. Hagia Sophia was a Byzantine church for nine centuries before the Ottomans converted it to a mosque.


Reporting by Ali Kucukgocmen; Writing by Daren Butler; Editing by Dominic Evans

Image: Police officers walk in front of Hagia Sophia, or Ayasofya-i Kebir Camii, in Istanbul, Turkey, July 11, 2020. (REUTERS/Murad Sezer)

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