- Title: File of Turkey's Hagia Sophia museum
- Date: 12th July 2020
- Summary: ISTANBUL, TURKEY (JUNE 10, 2020) (REUTERS) CROWD GATHERING NEAR HAGIA SOPHIA MAN RECITING CALL TO PRAYER VARIOUS OF PEOPLE PRAYING PRAYER ENDING ISTANBUL, TURKEY (JUNE 10, 2020) (REUTERS) (NIGHT SHOTS) VARIOUS OF PEOPLE PRAYING CROWD NEXT TO HAGIA SOPHIA CHANTING IN TURKISH "HERE IS THE ARMY, HERE IS THE COMMANDER" CROWD WAVING TURKISH FLAG CHANTING IN ARABIC "GOD IS GREAT"
- Embargoed: 26th July 2020 12:16
- Keywords: Hagia Sophia Pope Francis Turkey Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan mosque museum
- Location: ISTANBUL, TURKEY
- City: ISTANBUL, TURKEY
- Country: Turkey
- Topics: Religion/Belief,Society/Social Issues
- Reuters ID: LVA005CMI63BB
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text:Pope Francis said on Sunday (July 12) he was hurt by Turkey's decision to make Istanbul's Hagia Sophia museum a mosque, the latest religious leader to condemn the move.
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan has said the first prayers would be held in Hagia Sophia on July 24, after declaring the ancient monument was once again a mosque following a court ruling revoking its status as a museum.
The World Council of Churches has called on Erdogan to reverse his decision and Patriarch Bartholomew, the Istanbul-based spiritual leader of the world's Orthodox Christians, called it disappointing.
Erdogan said the nearly 1,500-year-old Hagia Sophia, which was once a Christian cathedral, would remain open to Muslims, Christians and foreigners.
He added that Turkey had exercised its sovereign right in converting it to a mosque and would interpret criticism of the move as an attack on its independence.
Greece has condemned the move and UNESCO said its World Heritage Committee would review Hagia Sophia's status and that Turkey's decision raised questions about the impact on its universal value as a site of importance transcending borders and generations.
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