Swiss firm SICPA is seeking compensation from the Turkish government for converting Hagia Sophia from a museum into a mosque, which holds the operating rights of Hagia Sophia for seven more years and is expected to suffer losses related to annual ticket sales of 72 million dollars of the museum.
According to the website Economytoday.com, People’s Democratic Party (HDP) Filiz Kerestecioğlu submitted a parliamentary question on reports that Turkey will pay compensation to the Swiss firm SICPA after the handover of Hagia Sophia to the Presidency of Religious Affairs and its reconversion into a mosque.
In her parliamentarian question, Kerestecioğlu noted the company won a tender that was held in 2018 for operating some 54 museums and archaeological sites in Turkey for nine years in 2018, with a $3.9 billion bid.
In 2019, more than three million tourists visited Hagia Sophia paying an entrance fee. Foreign tourists paid for a ticket costing 100 Turkish lira, which equates to about $15, in other words the total ticket revenue exceeded $50 million a year. It is noted that together with the night passages in the museum of Hagia Sophia, the income of the museum from the annual ticket sales amounted to 73 million dollars.
According to the report, SICPA holds the operating rights of Hagia Sophia as a museum for another seven years, and is expected to suffer losses related to the museum’s $72 million annual ticket sales.