The American Hellenic Institute (AHI) has condemned a ruling by Turkey’s highest administrative court last November that could pave the way for the conversion a former Orthodox church in Istanbul, which is now a museum, into a mosque.
The AHI said the ruling regarding the Church of the Holy Savior, commonly known as the Chora Church, “denigrates Turkey’s Christian heritage and sets an ominous precedent for the world-famous cathedral church of Hagia Sophia.”
The 1,000-year-old church was converted into the Kariye Mosque in the 16th century.
It functioned as a mosque until 1948 and was reopened as a museum in 1958. However, the Turkish court ruled in November that its designation as a museum is unlawful because, it said, its proper function is that of a mosque.
“[The ruling] paves the way for President [Recep Tayyip] Erdogan to make good on his threats to convert Hagia Sophia into a mosque,” said AHI President Nick Larigakis.