Turkey’s president formally makes Hagia Sophia a mosque

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has formally reconverted Istanbul’s sixth-century iconic Hagia Sophia into a mosque, hours after a high court annulled a 1934 decision that had turned it into a museum. Erdogan signed a decree Friday handing over Hagia Sophia to Turkey’s Religious Affairs Presidency and declaring it open to Muslim worship. The decision to reconvert Hagia Sophia, a former cathedral that was turned into a mosque after Istanbul’s conquest by the Ottoman Empire and had served as a museum for 86 years, sparked deep dismay among Orthodox Christians. 

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