Turkey’s President declared the Hagia Sophia open to Muslim worshipers, hours after Turkey’s top court announced its ruling.

Turkey’s high court nullified a 1934 verdict to convert the historic building into a museum. 

“It was concluded that the settlement deed allocated it is a mosque,” as per the ruling. 

It added that the use of the building “outside this character” is illegal. 

Recep Tayyip Erdogan, President of Turkey formally announced the reconversion despite pressure from the international community to drop it. 

The majority of the people in Turkey celebrated when the news came out. 

Legislators in Turkey’s capital city, Ankara applauded the court’s decision.

Outside Hagia Sophia, people celebrated and chanted “Allah is great!” after the announcement.

Hagia Sophia’s Brief History

The Christian Byzantine Empire build the Hagia Sophia in the 6th century and is originally a Cathedral. 

It was also the heart of the Orthodox Christian faith for centuries.  

However, during the Ottoman invasion, Mehmed II, after conquering Constantinople turned the Cathedral into a mosque. 

Fast-forward to the beginning of the 20th century, Turkey turned the building into a museum as part of its modernization. 

Since then, the building has attracted more than 3million tourists every year. 

International Reaction

Before the court ruling, international bodies have urged Erdogan to give up the reconversion of the famous building. 

The United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, along with other countries aired their concerns on the reconversion. 

It is not a secret that Erdogan has been behind the campaign of reconverting Hagia Sophia back into a mosque. 

The Russian Orthodox Church responded to the ruling saying that, it might result in further divisions, as per Al Jazeera. 

The Court’s Friday decision also increased the tension between Greece and Turkey, said an Associated Press report. 

The move is an “open challenge” to everyone that “recognizes” the building’s universality, said Lina Mendoni, culture minister of Greece. 

Vladimir Dzhabarov, head of the foreign affairs committee of Russia has also criticized the action and called it a “mistake”. 

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