France regrets Turkey’s decision to convert Hagia Sophia into a mosque, the French MFA said in a statement.
According to the statement, this jeopardizes one of the most symbolic acts of modern and secular Turkey. The French MFA says the cathedral should represent a variety of religious heritage, dialogue, and tolerance.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan signed a decree Friday on converting Hagia Sophia into a mosque, Reuters reported.
Erdogan shared on Twitter a copy of the decree he had signed according to which the decision had been taken to hand control of 'the Ayasofya Mosque, as it is known in Turkish, to the country’s religious directorate and reopen it for worship.'
A Turkish top administrative court ruled Friday in favor of a proposal to turn the Hagia Sophia museum back into a mosque.
According to Anadolu Agency, thus, the court annulled a 1934 presidential decree converting Hagia Sophia into a museum.
The Hagia Sophia was the Roman Empire's first Christian cathedral: it was converted from a Greek Orthodox cathedral to a mosque in 1453 and then became a museum in 1935.
UNESCO has earlier warned Turkey against turning Hagia Sophia into a mosque, calling for dialogue.
The Hagia Sophia is inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage site.