American academic Thomas Whittemore was approved by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk to restore the Hagia Sophia's mosaics in 1931. Although the space opened as a museum in three years, the restoration went on for another 15.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that the conversion of Hagia Sophia into a mosque will not impact Turkish-Russian relations. Petrov said that Moscow regards this as an "internal affair" of Turkey.
Duvar English’s editor-in-chief Cansu Çamlıbel and pollster Can Selçuki discuss the underlying factors behind President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's decision to convert Hagia Sophia back into a mosque. They seek an answer to the key question: whether this move indicates Erdoğan is poised to call for a snap election before the end of this year.
HDP deputy Zeynel Özen has urged the government to comply with the court rulings on cemevis, as he cited the recent decision to convert Istanbul's Hagia Sophia into a mosque. "We call on the government, which recognizes court rulings if they are of interest, to stop discriminating," Özen said.
Turkish Council of State's decision about the Hagia Sophia is a peak of anti-legality. It is such a political decision that you cannot even fathom sticking any legality on it. As you would not be able to carry water in a bucket full of sand. Let me explain why.
Turkey’s Chamber of Architects has said that the Council of State's last week ruling on Hagia Sophia should set a precedent for their argument that the constructions on Atatürk Forest Farm are in violation of the conditional donation of the estate by Atatürk. The Council of State last week said that Ottoman Sultan Mehmed the Conqueror registered iconic Hagia Sophia as an endowment which could be used only a mosque and for no other purposes.
This step involving the Hagia Sophia has totally destroyed the deception that Turkey has preserved its multi-religious, multicultural and multi-identity features as a country. Since we have passed the expiry date of lies, what is next now? Is there another topic of victimization left?
Greek governor wants mosque restoration works on Lesbos to be stopped after Turkey’s Hagia Sophia move
A regional Greek governor has said that Greece cannot stay indifferent to Turkey's Hagia Sophia move and demanded that ongoing restoration works at the historical Valide Mosque on Lesbos island be stopped. The 17th-century Valide Mosque is being restored under a 1.2 million euro grant from the EU regional development fund for the Aegean islands.
Turkey’s 1934 conversion of Hagia Sophia into museum was ‘wrong,’ ‘mistake is being corrected,’ says Erdoğan
President Erdoğan has said that Turkey's conversion of iconic Hagia Sophia into a museum back in 1934 was a “wrong decision” and the government is now “correcting a mistake.” Erdoğan also said that Hagia Sophia’s cultural heritage will be preserved.
Greece has described Turkey's decision to convert Istanbul's iconic Hagia Sophia to a mosque as "unnecessary and petty" and said it is "considering its response at all levels." "With this backward action, Turkey is opting to sever links with western world and its values," Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said on July 14.
Turkey on July 14 rejected EU condemnations of its decision to convert Istanbul's Hagia Sophia into a mosque. “Turkey rejects the words of condemnation used by the EU for turning Hagia Sophia back into a mosque,” Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said. Greece, meanwhile, described Turkey's Hagia Sophia decision as "unnecessary and petty."
Presidential Communications Director Fahrettin Altun has said that the conversion of Istanbul's Hagia Sophia into a mosque is the continuation of our revival during the July 15, 2016 failed coup attempt. "This longing ended with the will of our president. The decision is the continuation of our July 15 revival," Altun told daily Hürriyet.
Ankara wants to play the “Leader of the Muslim world card” — but there is more to Hagia Sophia’s conversion than just that. Just like the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s “West Bank annexation” policy, Ankara banks on the strategy of “creating an international problem to overshadow debating domestic grievances and making national politics dependent on the existing government through isolation” strategy.
In 2008, then-Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan vowed to “save Sulukule from its state of monstrosity” invoking the same word for monstrosity (ucube) he later used to describe the Statue of Humanity, a sculpture built in the eastern province of Kars to symbolize friendship between Turkey and Armenia. Like Sulukule, the statue was torn down.
EU foreign ministers condemned the Turkish government's decision to turn Hagia Sophia into a mosque and called on Ankara "to urgently reconsider and reverse this decision." “This decision will inevitably fuel the mistrust, promote renewed division between religious communities and undermine our efforts at dialog and cooperation,” EU foreign affairs chief Josep Borrell said on July 13.