Sunday , July 21 2024
Home / News / Politics / Turkey-GR / Turkey’s top court rejects plea to convert Hagia Sophia to a mosque

Turkey’s top court rejects plea to convert Hagia Sophia to a mosque

Millions of Greek Orthodox Christians breathed in relief  on Thursday upon hearing that Turkey’s Constitutional Court rejected a plea to open the Hagia Sophia museum in Istanbul as a mosque.

The Constitutional Court rejected an association’s demand that the Hagia Sophia be opened for Muslim prayers on “non-competence” grounds, indicating it was not the proper instance to allow any change, the official Anadolu news agency reported.

In its plea, the Turkish heritage association, the Association of Permanent Historical Monuments and Environment, had claimed that barring prayers at Hagia Sophia was breaching the right to freedom of expression and conscience.

The Hagia Sophia was turned into a museum in 1935 by the founder of modern Turkey, secular Mustafa Kemal Ataturk.

Secular Turks as well as Greek Orthodox Christians have been closely following any attempts by Erdogan’s regime to turn the Hagia Sophia into a mosque.

The Association had first appeal to the Turkish Council of State in 2004. The appeal was rejected with on the same “non-competence” grounds. Then the Association sought the aid of the Constitutional Court a year later.

In the last couple of years, there have been increased effort to use the symbol of Orthodox Christianity for Koran recitations at least during the Holy month of Ramadan.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been supporting these moves.

The Turkish government shocked Orthodox Christians in June 2016 when it allowed Koran recitations inside the ultimate symbol of Orthodox Christianity, the Hafia Sophia in Istanbul.

It was the first time after 81 years.

Erdogan continued these practices and drew the anger of Greeks who accused him of not respecting symbols of other religions.

The Basilica of Hagia Sophia dedicated to “Holy Wisdom” was built in 537 AD and served as Orthodox cathedral and seat of the Greek Orthodox Patriarch until 1453 when the Byzantine Constantinople was conquered by the Ottoman Turks.

From 1204 until 1261,  it was converted by the Fourth Crusaders to a Roman Catholic cathedral under the Latin Empire of Constantinople.

The building was an imperial mosque from 29 May 1453 until 1931.

Under the founder of modern Turkey, secular Mustaf Kemal Ataturk, Hagia Sophia was turned into a museum on 1 February 1935.

Check Also

Marine parks challenge Greek-Turkish relations

Greece’s Foreign Ministry affirmed its commitment to safeguarding its sovereign rights, while accusing Turkey of …

One comment

  1. Finally a long needed victory for Kemalism in Turkey!