LAST UPDATE 17:16
The Turkish Council of State annulled the 1934 decision by which the Turkish government then in office turned Hagia Sophia in Constantinople into a museum.
The Turkish Council of State, the Supreme Administrative Court of Turkey, announced today that it had annulled the 1934 government decree that turned the Hagia Sophia in Constantinople into a mosque.
It decided that it was illegal and, therefore, it paved the way for the conversion of the monument into a mosque, despite international warnings against such an action.
The Council of State accepted a request submitted by associations and annulled the 1934 government decision, Anadolu Agency, the state-run Turkish news agency, reported.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has proposed converting Hagia Sophia into a mosque, which has a museum status and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
In addition, Turkish President is scheduled to deliver a speech later today, following the decision by the Turkish Council of State.
President Erdogan posted on twitter the document recognising high court decision on Hagia Sophia with his signature.
Hayırlı olsun. pic.twitter.com/MzP6nzn9Jc
— Recep Tayyip Erdoğan (@RTErdogan) July 10, 2020
UNESCO: Hagia Sophia is a World Heritage Site, Turkey has commitments
UNESCO said earlier that it must be notified of any change in the Hagia Sophia museum, which is likely to be reviewed by the World Heritage Committee.
UNESCO told Reuters that Hagia Sophia had been inscribed on the World Heritage List as a museum, indicating that the state where it was located had specific commitments and legal obligations.
“Any modification must be notified by the state to UNESCO in advance, and be reviewed, if necessary, by the World Heritage Committee,” it added.
Vice President of Commission: Change of status of Hagia Sophia will undermine tolerance in Turkey
Vice President of the Commission and Commissioner for the Promotion of the European Way of Life, Margaritis Schoinas, highlighted the importance of Hagia Sophia as a symbol of interfaith and intercultural dialogue.
— Ευρωπαϊκή Επιτροπή 🇪🇺 (@EEAthina) July 10, 2020