Istanbul: Overturning the 1934 ruling which converted it into a museum at the time, the Turkish top administrative court has ruled in favour of reconverting the Hagia Sophia museum into a mosque.
Revoking the Byzantine-era Hagia Sophia’s status as a museum, a top Turkish court cleared the way for it to be reconverted into a mosque.
Giving its ruling on a case brought by a Turkish religious organisation, the Council of State on Friday cancelled a 1934 cabinet decision and ruled the sixth-century building would be reopened to Muslim worship.
Hagia Sophia is the UNESCO World Heritage Site and is one of the most visited monuments in Turkey. It is a focal point of both the Christian Byzantine and Muslim Ottoman empires.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had proposed restoring its mosque status.
According to Al-Jazeera, Turkey’s top administrative court in a ruling said, “It was concluded that the settlement deed allocated it as a mosque and its use outside this character is not possible legally.” It further added, “The cabinet decision in 1934 that ended its use as a mosque and defined it as a museum did not comply with laws.”
Hagia Sophia’s status as a museum was approved by modern Turkey’s founder Mustafa Kemal Ataturk in 1934.