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Turkey’s Orthodox Challenge Hagia Sophia Conversion

Hagia Sophia was reopened as a mosque in July 2020, violating its UNESCO status.

Turkish Orthodox Christians have applied to the Council of State for the reversal of Hagia Sophia’s reconversion into a mosque, saying that the decision violates the rights of Orthodox Greeks living in the country.

Hagia Sophia is an ancient historic cathedral located in Istanbul that remains highly symbolic and central to Greek Orthodox Christianity. The cathedral was converted into a mosque during the Turkish invasion, and later converted to a museum with the birth of secular modern Turkey. The potential reconversion of Hagia Sophia into a mosque has long been used by Turkey’s ruling AKP party to maintain popular support from its conservative base and distract from other national woes. However, the legal pathway wasn’t created until last year. 


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