“For many years, our nation awaited to see Hagia Sophia as a mosque. It was a mistake we turned it into a museum. Since there is such a demand, it is time to take this step,” the Turkish president said in an interview with A Haber TV station, remaining intransigent on this point despite the “objections” raised by UNESCO.
“It is an expectation of our nation, of the Islamic world and of all the people. Our nation’s desire is to see the Hagia Sophia to convert to a mosque. It was a big mistake to allow Hagia Sophia to turn into a museum. So we need to do something about it seriously. Now is the time to take this step. Thus, with this step now, Hagia Sophia will not be a museum from now on, it will acquire the legal status of mosque. At this time, all tourists visiting Sultan Ahmed Mosque or Süleymaniye Mosque will come to visit Hagia Sophia Mosque, not the Hagia Sophia Museum,” stated Erdogan.
“Some people want to keep on pretending to be smart and stick to the issue of Hagia Sophia. What did you do for that? At this moment there are so many attacks on the Al-Aqsa Mosque and no one is willing to speak about it,” he said, trying to link the future of Hagia Sophia to the treatment of the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, a sacred place for Islam.
“Those who remain silent when Al-Aqsa Mosque is attacked can not indicate us what to do about the status of Hagia Sophia,” the Turkish president said, according to tovima.gr.
“They can not deter us from our goals we have set over the centuries. After all, the decision to turn Hagia Sophia into a museum was not taken after many centuries, but soon after the elections, we will discuss and resolve this issue in the most harmonious way, like a hair pulled out of butter,” the Turkish president said.