Iran’s Foreign Ministry welcomed on Monday a recent decision by Turkey to reconvert Istanbul's iconic Hagia Sophia into a mosque after serving decades as a museum.
“The decision on the status of Hagia Sophia is Turkey's internal affair,” ministry spokesman Sayed Abbas Mousavi told Anadolu Agency.
“This is an issue that should be considered as part of Turkey's national sovereignty,” Mousevi added.
On Friday, a Turkish court annulled a 1934 cabinet decree that had turned the Hagia Sophia into a museum, paving the way for its use again as a mosque after 85 years.
The court ruled that the architectural gem was owned by a foundation established by Sultan Mehmet II, the conqueror of Istanbul, and presented to the community as a mosque -- a status that cannot be legally changed.
The Hagia Sophia was used as a church for centuries under the rule of the Byzantine Empire. It was turned into a mosque following the conquest of Istanbul in 1453. But in 1934, a cabinet decision had converted Hagia Sophia into a museum.
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*Writing by Zehra Nur Duz