LAST UPDATE: 11:16
The Supreme Court of Turkey has passed the baton to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan regarding the decision to convert Hagia Sophia into a mosque.
Turkish judges ruled that Kemal Ataturk’s 1934 decree on the status of Hagia Sophia as a museum was and is legal, but noted that the current Turkish head of state had the right to decide whether to change it or not.
During the proceedings, it is recalled that the Association for the Support of Ancient Monuments and the Environment filed a petition to examine whether Kemal Ataturk’s signature on the 1934 decree was authentic or false.
The Supreme Court ruled that it was a legitimate decision to protect the museum status of Hagia Sophia, but noted that a presidential decree was enough to change it.
The pro-government press points out, however, that in the event of a positive proposal, it is assumed that the first prayer will be held on July 15, the fourth anniversary of the failed coup attempt, which may affect the time the final decision will be adopted.
The United States has stepped up pressure on the Turkish side, as evidenced by yesterday’s intervention by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
The head of US diplomacy called on the Turkish government to maintain the current status of the monument, following similar statements made by the State Department in recent days.
However, Ankara expressed its astonishment at the US Secretary of State’s statement, and responded that Hagia Sophia was the property of Turkey like all cultural assets in the country, and that it was an internal affair within Ankara’s sovereign rights.
It is recalled that among those who have taken a stand on the issue in recent days has been Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew who stressed that such a decision “will turn millions of Christians around the world against Islam.”