Erdogan revisits controversy over Istanbul’s Hagia Sophia

Erdogan revisits controversy over Istanbul’s Hagia Sophia

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has announced that plans are afoot to make architectural changes to the Hagia Sophia monument in Istanbul, the Cypriot newspaper Phileleftheros reported on Saturday.

Speaking to Turkey’s state-run TRT, Erdogan was quoted by the paper as saying said that “serious architectural interventions must be made” to the entrance and floors of the 6th century Hagia Sophia – a former Greek Orthodox cathedral – to facilitate entry to visitors.

He also said that it must be clarified whether the status of the monument will be that of a museum or a mosque – as it was from the fall of Constantinople (modern-day Istanbul) to the Ottomans in 1453 until 1935.

On Thursday, the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) condemned similar comments in the week about recharacterizing the monument as a mosque instead of a museum.

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