Ankara to appoint permanent imam to Haghia Sophia, says Turkish media


Turkey was expected to appoint a permanent imam to Hagia Sophia in Istanbul, the country’s state news agency Anadolu has reported.

While the position was foreseen in Haghia Sophia’s organization chart since 1935, until recently prayers were led by visiting imams.

According to reports, the new imam was expected to be in charge of daily prayers, which would continue to take place outside the building in a specially designated area as they are not allowed inside the museum.

In June, a decision by Turkish authorities to allow a daily reading from the Quran to be broadcast from Hagia Sophia during the holy Muslim month of Ramadan drew protest from the Greek Foreign Ministry.

Built as a Christian basilica in the 6th century, Hagia Sophia was converted into a mosque following the conquest of Constantinople by the Ottoman army in 1453. The edifice was converted into a museum on the orders of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk in 1935.