- Title: Turkish court hears case on turning Hagia Sophia into a mosque
- Date: 2nd July 2020
- Summary: ISTANBUL, TURKEY (JULY 2, 2020) (REUTERS) VARIOUS EXTERIORS OF HAGIA SOPHIA MUSEUM ENTRANCE OF MUSEUM SECURITY AT THE ENTRANCE OF MUSEUM ANKARA, TURKEY (JULY 2, 2020) (REUTERS) EXTERIOR OF STATE COUNCIL VARIOUS OF SECURITY OUTSIDE THE BUILDING SIGN OF STATE COUNCIL VARIOUS OF SECURITY MEASURES CHAIRMAN OF THE ASSOCIATION OF SERVICE TO FOUNDATIONS, HISTORIC MONUMENTS AND ENVIRONMENT, ISMAIL KANDEMIR GETTING OUT PEOPLE WAITING OUTSIDE KANDEMIR ANSWERING QUESTIONS (SOUNDBITE) (Turkish) CHAIRMAN OF THE ASSOCIATION OF SERVICE TO FOUNDATIONS, HISTORIC MONUMENTS AND ENVIRONMENT, ISMAIL KANDEMIR, SAYING: "We took part in the hearing. Hopefully, the high court will give the decision that will satisfy the consciences and that will ensure that Hagia Sophia will be a mosque again. We believe in that. We will wait and see the decision." REPORTERS (SOUNDBITE) (Turkish) LAWYER, SELAMI KARAMAN, SAYING: "It saddens Turkish people and the Muslims in this country as well as the Islamic world that a chattel real (eds note: refers to property such as land or a building that is held for a limited amount of time) that belongs to the foundation Ebu Fetih Sultan Mehmet Han that was founded by our ancestor Fatih Sultan Mehmet Han is still being used out of its context as a mosque. We believe that the State council will put an end to this. We will wait for the decision and see. The decision has not been released yet. We all took part in the hearing but according to the administrative procedure law, the decision will be unveiled in 15 days. This could be unveiled today or in a few days. This is at the discretion of the High Court." VARIOUS OF POLICEMEN SEEN BEHIND FENCES
- Embargoed: 16th July 2020 09:40
- Keywords: Hagia Sophia Turkey hearing mosque museum
- Location: ANKARA, ISTANBUL, TURKEY, INTERNET
- City: ANKARA, ISTANBUL, TURKEY, INTERNET
- Country: Turkey
- Topics: Government/Politics
- Reuters ID: LVA001CL4A91J
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: A Turkish court on Thursday (July 2) heard a case aimed at converting Istanbul's sixth century Hagia Sophia back into a mosque and will announce its verdict within 15 days, a lawyer said, on an issue which has drawn international expressions of concern.
President Tayyip Erdogan has proposed restoring the mosque status of the UNESCO World Heritage Site, a building at the heart of both Christian Byzantine and Muslim Ottoman empires and today one of Turkey's most visited monuments.
The government decision to turn the mosque into a museum was made in 1934 in the early years of the modern secular Turkish state founded by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk. The court case disputes the legality of that conversion.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Wednesday urged Turkey to let Hagia Sophia remain a museum, while the spiritual head of the world's Orthodox Christians warned its conversion to a mosque would sow division.
Hagia Sophia was the foremost church in Christendom for 900 years and then one of Islam's greatest mosques for 500 years after the Ottoman conquest of Istanbul.
Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, the spiritual head of some 300 million Orthodox Christians worldwide and based in Istanbul, said converting it to a mosque would disappoint Christians and would "fracture" East and West.
Turkish groups have campaigned for years for Hagia Sophia's conversion into a mosque and Erdogan, a pious Muslim, backed their call ahead of local elections last year.
Many Turks argue that mosque status would better reflect the identity of Turkey as an overwhelmingly Muslim country, and recent polls have shown that most Turks support a change.
(Production: Mert Ozkan, Bulent Usta)
- Copyright Holder: REUTERS
- Copyright Notice: (c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2020. Open For Restrictions - http://about.reuters.com/fulllegal.asp
- Usage Terms/Restrictions: None