Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan issued a decree Friday ordering Hagia Sophia to be used as a Mosque again.
The Association for the Service of the Historical Foundations and the Environment filed a lawsuit with the Council of State in 2005 calling for Hagia Sophia to be converted back to a mosque from a museum, but it was rejected in 2008. The Supreme Court rejected another case in 2018 alleging violation of freedom of religion. However, Turkey’s top administrative court on Friday annulled its status as a museum.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a press statement that the government of Turkey should continue to maintain the Hagia Sophia as a museum, as an exemplar of its commitment to respect the faith traditions and diverse history that contributed to the Republic of Turkey and to ensure it remains accessible to all.
“The United States views a change in the status of the Hagia Sophia as diminishing the legacy of this remarkable building and its unsurpassed ability to serve humanity as a much-needed bridge between those of differing faith traditions and cultures,” said by Pompeo in the press statement.