Ankara, Turkey, July 11, 2020
The Council of State of Turkey, the country’s highest administrative court, ruled yesterday that the 1934 decree that converted the Agia Sophia cathedral in Istanbul from a mosque into a museum was illegal, thus paving the way for President Erdoğan to realize his dream of turning the landmark into a mosque once again.
Later that day, the Turkish head of state signed a decree officially making Agia Sophia a mosque once again, despite the global protests and outcry.
The President posted a photo of the decree on his Twitter account with the words, “with best wishes.”
And, in a video message yesterday, President Erdoğan announced that Islamic worship will be held in Agia Sophia for the first time on July 24.
The doors to Agia Sophia will remain open to all, he said, adding that there will no longer be an entrance fee, as when it was a museum. He also promised that Turkey will continue to preserve the cultural heritage of the monument.
Romfea reports that during the President’ speech, hundreds of Muslims prayed outside Agia Sophia.