Hagia Sophia There will be no museum, there will be no mosque, it will be in the court
A court in Istanbul on Thursday postponed a 15-day ruling on whether to convert Hagia Sophia into a mosque.
One and a half thousand years old, Hagia Sophia in Istanbul was once the largest church in the world, later turned into a mosque, and later converted into a museum. President Erdogan wants to turn it into a mosque again in response to Turkish demands, and that could happen if the court rules in favor.
However, after a 16-minute hearing, The Council of State, Turkey's highest governing body, said it would issue a ruling within 15 days.
Mosque or museum?
Hagia Sophia was built in the sixth century, at the behest of Emperor Justinian I, then ruler of the Byzantine Empire. It was the largest church in the world for almost a thousand years. Later, when Istanbul fell to the Ottoman Empire in 1453, it was turned into a mosque.
It was turned into a museum in the 1930s. It is now a UNESCO-declared World Heritage Site.
Muslims in Turkey have long wanted to turn it back into a mosque. But secular opposition MPs have been opposed to it. In addition, political and religious leaders in the international arena have criticized Hagia Sophiafor turning it back into a mosque.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan recently called for the conversion of Hagia Sophia into a mosque. At an election rally last year, Erdogan called for the change in the face of demands from supporters.
The head of the Eastern Orthodox Church has opposed it. Greece - the country where millions of Orthodox Christians live - has also opposed it.
Greek Culture Minister Lina Mendoni has accused Turkey of trying to arouse extremist nationalist and religious sentiments. He emphasized that no change could be made in a UNESCO World Heritage Site like Hagia Sophia without the approval of the organization's intergovernmental committee. UNESCO Deputy Director Ernesto Ramirez agreed in an interview with a Greek newspaper that such a change would require widespread approval.
The UN body has sent a letter to Turkey about the proposal. But Ramirez said they got no answer.
Hagia Sophia has a strange history
This huge historic building with domes in the Fatih area of Istanbul on the west bank of the Bosphorus Strait easily catches the eye of visitors. The construction of this nanny Sophia began in 532 AD by order of Emperor Justinian I. The city of Istanbul was then called Constantinople, the capital of the Byzantine Empire, also known as the Eastern Roman Empire.
During the construction of this huge cathedral, the engineers of that time brought construction materials from across the Mediterranean.
The construction of Hagia Sophia was completed in 536. Here was the position of the head of the Orthodox Church. The royal ceremonies of the Byzantine Empire, the inauguration of the king, etc. were held here.
For nearly 900 years, Aunt Sophia was the center of Eastern Orthodox Christianity. Except for a brief period in the mid-thirteenth century, however, when the Catholics of Europe launched an expedition during the Fourth Crusade and occupied Constantinople. They turned Hagia Sophia into a Catholic cathedral.
But in 1453, the Ottoman Empire of Sultan Mehmed II fell to Constantinople. Its new name is Istanbul. The Byzantine Empire came to an end forever.
Upon entering Hagia Sophia, the victorious Sultan Mehmed II ordered it to be renovated and turned into a mosque. He offered the first Friday prayers in this building.
Ottoman architects removed various symbols of Orthodox Christianity inside Aya Sophia. A tall minaret is added to the exterior of the building.
Hagia Sophia was the city's main mosque until the construction of the Blue Mosque in Istanbul in 1817. Its architecture inspires builders of many mosques in the city and around the world, including the Blue Mosque.
When the First World War ended in 1918, the Ottoman Empire was defeated. The victorious Allies divided their territory into different parts. However, the rise of nationalist Turkish power arose from the remnants of that empire. They founded modern Turkey.
Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder of Turkey and the first president of the secular republic, banned prayers in the mosque and turned Aya Sophia into a museum. Since Hagia Sophia was opened to the public in 1935, it has become one of the most attractive tourist destinations in Turkey.
Why is this Hagia Sophia so important?
For many groups inside and outside Turkey, Hagia Sophia's 1,500-year history carries great religious, spiritual, and political significance. A law passed in 1934 prohibits religious prayers in the building.
But devout Muslims continue to demand that Hagia Sophia be turned into a mosque again. They also protested outside the building against the law.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's speech echoed that demand. Speaking at a campaign rally ahead of last year's local elections, he said turning Hagia Sophia into a museum was a "huge mistake."
He then instructed his colleagues to look into how the building could be turned into a mosque.
The head of the Eastern Orthodox Church called Eki
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