Photo: Chris McGrath / Getty Images
The decision of Turkey to turn Hagia Sophia in Istanbul into a mosque — an internal affair of the country. Such a comment was made by Deputy foreign Minister of Russia Sergey Vershinin, reports RIA Novosti.
“You know about the wide public resonance which has received this issue in our country and abroad. (…) We are talking about the internal Affairs of Turkey, in which neither we nor others should not interfere”, — he stressed. While Vershinin stressed the significance of the Cathedral “from the point of view of the object of world culture and civilization”.
On 10 July the Turkish Council of State — Supreme administrative court — unanimously declared illegal and quashed the decision of the Cabinet of Ministers of 1934, attributing to the Hagia Sophia, the status of the Museum. Before that, on 5 June, Erdogan instructed his aides to conduct a study to prepare the Cathedral for official transformation into a mosque. On 2 July the Supreme court of Turkey ruled that the status of a Cathedral may be changed by the decree of the President of the country.
The Hagia Sophia was founded in the VI century by the Byzantine Emperor Justinian, and more than a thousand years was the largest Christian Church. After the capture of Constantinople by the Turks in 1453, the Cathedral was converted into a mosque but in 1935 President Mustapha Kemal Ataturk gave the Shrine the status of a Museum.
Video, photo All from Russia.