Updated: Nov 29, 2020
063. Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) deputy Şamil Tayyar has proposed the reconversion of Istanbul’s Hagia Sophia museum into a mosque, in retaliation against U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
“If you say so, let Hagia Sophia be opened to prayers. We should start holding Friday prayers at Hagia Sophia,” Tayyar tweeted on Dec. 6
President Trump reversed decades of U.S. policy on Dec. 6 by recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, despite warnings from around the world.
Ankara had already stressed that the holy site was a “red line for Muslims” and signaled that it could even sever ties with Israel for the move.
The Hagia Sophia Museum was first dedicated as an Orthodox patriarchal basilica in 360. Until 1453 it served as the Greek Patriarchal cathedral of Constantinople. Following the city’s conquest by the Ottoman Empire, the building turned into a mosque in 1453 and remained so until 1931, when it was closed to the public for four years.
It was reopened by the authorities of Turkey’s young Republic as a museum in 1935.