Changing Hagia Sophia’s status requires UNESCO approval, officials say


UNESCO sources cited by Greek media on Wednesday said that changing Istanbul-based Hagia Sophia’s World Heritage Site status would require approval by the Paris-based organization.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday again suggested turning Hagia Sophia, originally a Byzantine Christian cathedral, into a mosque.

The Turkish strongman made a similar suggestion during a televised interview on Sunday, triggering a reaction from Athens.

Originally built in the 6th century, Hagia Sophia was the main seat of the Greek Orthodox church. It was turned into a mosque following the Ottoman conquest of Istanbul – then Constantinople – in 1453.

Hagia Sophia became a museum after the formation of modern secular Turkey in 1923.