On July 2, the Turkish Council of State will examine a request to turn Hagia Sophia into a mosque.
Recently, the media and the public in Turkey have been talking about a “historic decision” to be made.
Statements by high-ranking Turkish government officials and President Erdogan, have been steadily undermining the current situation in recent months.
The Al-Fatihahh surah, a muslim prayer dedicated to Muhammad II, which was read inside the Hagia Sophia on May 29, the anniversary of the Fall of Constantinople, was the culmination of this situation.
UNESCO warns that the conversion of Hagia Sophia, which is classified as a Cultural Heritage Monument, into a mosque is illegal.
The US Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom, Sam Brownback, has called the government of Turkey to maintain Hagia Sophia as a UNESCO World Heritage site.
In a statement issued by the US State Department, Secretary Michael Pompeo calls on Turkey “to continue to maintain the Hagia Sophia as a museum, as an exemplar of its commitment to respect the faith traditions and diverse history that contributed to the Republic of Turkey, and to ensure it remains accessible to all.”
The Russian Orthodox Church has stated that “any attempts to change the museum status of Hagia Sophia will lead to changing and violating fragile inter-confessional balances, existing today.”
The Church of Greece issued a statement stressing that any conversion will bring about intense protest and frustration among Christians worldwide while it will harm Turkey itself in various ways.
Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew from Constantinople stated that any conversion of Hagia Sophia into a mosque “will turn millions of Christians around the world against Islam”
Earlier, the Ecumenical Patriarch had stated in the Washington Post: “What can I say as a Christian clergyman and a Greek patriarch in Constantinople? Instead of uniting, a 1,500-year-old heritage separates us. I’m sad and shocked. We have survived for 17 centuries and, if it is God’s will, we will stay here forever”