<div class="intro-text">\r\n\r\nTurkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced Friday the opening doors of the Hagia Sophia Church in Istanbul to Muslims for prayer, in the wake of the Turkish court annulling its current status as a museum, amidst major international opposition.\r\n\r\n<\/div>\r\n"It was decided that the Hagia Sophia will be placed under the leadership of the Presidency of Religious Affairs and will be opened for prayer," Erdogan said in a statement posted on Twitter.\r\n\r\nOn Friday, the highest administrative court in Turkey issued a ruling stripping the status of "museum" from the "Hagia Sophia" cathedral. This ruling paves the way for the historic facility to be converted into a mosque again.\r\n\r\nAccording to media reports, the Turkish court overturned the decision issued in 1934 to convert the former cathedral into a museum in Istanbul.\r\n<h2><span style="color: #ff0000;"><img class="aligncenter wp-image-137026 size-full" src="https:\/\/see.news\/wp-content\/uploads\/2020\/07\/8291196158_40e912dfd4_b.jpg" alt="The World Condemns Erdogan's Decision Over Hagia Sophia" width="1024" height="680" \/>Global Opposition at Turning Hagia Sophia Into Mosque<\/span><\/h2>\r\nThe Turkish decision was taken on Friday, despite a warning from American, French, Russian, and Greek officials, as well as opposition from churchmen.\r\n\r\nThe fate of Hagia Sophia is of concern to Greece and Russia, which closely monitors the Byzantine heritage in Turkey, as well as the United States and France, which have warned Ankara against turning it into a mosque, which Turkish President Erdogan has been seeking for years.\r\n\r\nThe Greek Ministry of Culture considered that the Turkish court's decision to convert the Hagia Sophia into a mosque constituted an "open provocation" to the civilized world.\r\n\r\n[caption id="attachment_137028" align="aligncenter" width="960"]<img class="size-full wp-image-137028" src="https:\/\/see.news\/wp-content\/uploads\/2020\/07\/mendoni-thumb-large-thumb-large.jpg" alt="Global Condemnation of Erdogan's Decision Over Hagia Sophia" width="960" height="600" \/> Culture Minister Lina Mendoni[\/caption]\r\n\r\n\u201cToday\u2019s decision, which came as a result of the political will of President (Tayyip) Erdogan, is an open provocation to the civilized world which recognized the unique value and ecumenical nature of the monument,\u201d <a href="https:\/\/www.ekathimerini.com\/254598\/article\/ekathimerini\/news\/greek-culture-minister-says-hagia-sophia-verdict-a-provocation">Culture Minister Lina Mendoni<\/a> said in a written statement.\r\n<blockquote class="pullquote align-left">Hagia Sophia is \u201ca monument to all mankind, regardless of religion,\u201d according to Mendoni.<\/blockquote>\r\nThe Russian Orthodox Church regretted that the Turkish judiciary had not listened to the \u201cconcerns of millions of Christians,\u201d and had permitted the conversion of the former Hagia Sophia Church in Istanbul into a mosque.\r\n\r\n"We note that the concerns of millions of Christians have not been taken into consideration," the Interfax news agency quoted Church spokesman Vladimir Legwida as saying.\r\n\r\nOn its part, the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) warned that Hagia Sophia was included in the World Heritage as a museum.\r\n\r\n\u201cThis inscription entails a number of legal commitments and obligations. Thus, a state must ensure that no modification is made to the outstanding universal value of the property inscribed on its territory\u201d, said <a href="https:\/\/news.un.org\/en\/story\/2020\/07\/1068151">UNESCO<\/a>.\r\n\r\n<img class="aligncenter size-large wp-image-137027" src="https:\/\/see.news\/wp-content\/uploads\/2020\/07\/image1170x530cropped-1024x464.jpg" alt="Global Condemnation of Erdogan's Decision Over Hagia Sophia" width="1024" height="464" \/>\r\n\r\n\u201cAny modification requires prior notification by the State concerned to UNESCO and then, if necessary, an examination by the World Heritage Committee.\u201d\r\n\r\nThe agency noted that in line with its designation, the Hagia Sophia \u201chas a strong symbolic, historical and universal value.\u201d\r\n\r\n\u201cUNESCO furthermore recalls that effective, inclusive and equitable participation of communities and other stakeholders concerned by the property, is a necessary condition for the preservation of heritage and for the enhancement of its uniqueness and significance.\u201d\r\n<h2><span style="color: #ff0000;">Appeasing Turkish conservatives<\/span><\/h2>\r\n<blockquote class="pullquote align-left">Opponents in Turkey say that the <a href="https:\/\/see.news\/analysis-will-turkeys-erdogan-resort-to-snap-election\/">Turkish president<\/a>, who defended this move, seeks to win over the conservatives by this step.<\/blockquote>\r\nCritics say that Erdogan is seeking to distract the attention against the recent economic failures in the country, and portraying this decision on Hagia Sophia as an achievement.\r\n\r\nErdogan had raised the issue of converting the Hagia Sophia into a mosque, before the municipal elections, in 2019, but the Justice and Development Party suffered painful strikes that lost the municipality of Istanbul, the largest city in the country.\r\n\r\n<img class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-137025" src="https:\/\/see.news\/wp-content\/uploads\/2020\/07\/7791349838_ecb57a65cc_b.jpg" alt="Global Condemnation of Erdogan's Decision Over Hagia Sophia" width="1000" height="600" \/>\r\n\r\nThe historical facility was built during the Byzantine Empire during the sixth century AD, and it served as a chair for the Greek Orthodox Church. Then it became a mosque after the Ottomans entered Istanbul in 1453. In 1935 it was converted into a museum.