A Turkish court will rule in another 15 days if the government is allowed to revert the world-famous Hagia Sophia Museum to a mosque.
The enormous domed building in Istanbul, now a leading tourist attraction, is currently in the center of an international row following President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said Muslim worship ought to occur on the website again.
However, a legal challenge started on Thursday that explained Atatürk’s signature on such order might have been forged.
The Turkish paper Sözcü quoted one attorney as telling the court that the construction was the private property of Mehmed II, the Ottoman sultan whose forces seized the city then called Constantinople in 1453.
The suit was started by a Turkish spiritual institution that has challenged Hagia Sophia’s standing as a museum.
If the court agrees, the 1934 arrangement will be annulled and it’ll be left for Erdoğan to determine whether he needs to grant spiritual services from the construction once more.
It’s until July 16 to issue a judgment, even though a decision could come sooner.
But analysts say there’s little community requirement for its Hagia Sophia to develop into a mosque again, mentioning the huge Blue Mosque located across the road that may accommodate up to 10,000 worshippers.
Rather, it’s seen as a move to placate Erdoğan’s heart voter base — that can be conservative, pious, and diminishing.
“I believe he feels that the strain of popular support and he wishes to utilize issues he expects will remobilize his right-wing foundation around nativist, populist, anti-elitist themes, [therefore ] input Hagia Sophia,” said Soner Cagaptay, manager of the Turkey Research Programme in the Washington Institute.
“So it is not about prayer distance, it is not about creating a mosque or supplying for a mosque for one that doesn’t exist”
President Erdoğan has sought to depict the Hagia Sophia as a federal matter, stating it’s for the Turkish state to determine if the Koran needs to be recited there.
He’s also rebuked Greece to get expressing concern concerning the planned conversion.
Earlier this week US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo intervened in the discussion, urging Turkey to maintain the website for a museum.
“The United States views a shift in the standing of the Hagia Sophia as decreasing the heritage of this remarkable construction and its capability –so rare in today’s world–to serve humankind as a hierarchical bridge involving people of diverse faith traditions and civilizations,” Pompeo stated in an announcement on Wednesday.
The Hagia Sophia was built as a palace in 537 CE and remains a part of the Eastern Orthodox Church. Its enormous dome has been the world’s largest enclosed area for those centuries.
Minarets were inserted into both sides of the dome at the years that followed.
Following the building turned into a museum, the Christian wall paintings have been introduced after more while the recent Islamic calligraphy has been retained.