May 30
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Armenian MFA spokesperson Anna Naghdalyan has issued a statement following a Turkish decision to convert Hagia Sophia in a mosque.

Her statement runs as follows: 'We express our deep concern about the decision of the authorities of Turkey to convert Hagia Sophia, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, into a mosque.

Hagia Sophia is not merely a historical and cultural monument. Throughout its history, it has been bearing diverse religious, cultural and political significance.

Granting a museum status to Hagia Sophia and inscribing it on the UNESCO World Heritage List symbolised cooperation and unity of humankind instead of clash of civilizations. Regrettably, the recent decision of the Turkish authorities brings to a close this important mission and symbolism of Hagia Sophia.

This decision creates a dangerous precedent for substantial changes of the purpose and the meaning of the UNESCO World Heritage Site. This situation calls for close monitoring by the international community, particularly the UNESCO, for the preservation of historic sites with such status in the territory of Turkey.'

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan signed a decree Friday on converting Hagia Sophia into a mosque.

Erdogan tweeted 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.'

Thus, a Turkish top administrative 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.

The site is inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage site.

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