The Supreme Administrative Court (Danistay) of Turkey apparently places the decision on the future status of Hagia Sophia and its possible conversion into a mosque in the hands of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. According to the portal “OrthodoxTimes” and the Roman press service “Fides”, this is the expected result of a corresponding court hearing on Thursday.
According to Kathpress, it will take a few days until the wording of the decision and the corresponding reasons are published. According to the reports, the judges confirmed earlier decisions that a decree by the secular founder of the republic, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, in 1934, which made Hagia Sophia a museum, had been legally established. The status as a museum complex therefore corresponds to the current legal situation.
At the same time, it was determined that the current Turkish head of state had the right to decide to change the status of Hagia Sophia by presidential decree. According to observers, the meeting of the “Danistay”, which is also called the “State Council” in Turkey, lasted less than half an hour.
Head of state Erdogan had in recent weeks pushed ahead with plans to redeploy Hagia Sophia to a mosque. Hagia Sophia (Greek: Holy Wisdom) built in the sixth century, then the largest Christian church in the world, converted the Ottomans into a mosque after the conquest of Constantinople (now Istanbul) in 1453. Under Ataturk it was declared a museum in 1934.
The Turkish Association for the Protection of Historical Monuments had previously made attempts to convert Hagia Sophia backwards – but these have so far always been unsuccessful. It was always argued that Ataturk’s signature under the decision to convert Hagia Sophia into a museum at that time was incorrect and thus invalid.