Istanbul's Hagia Sophia will host Muslim Friday prayers for the first time since being converted from a museum back into a mosque. Originally a cathedral, Hagia Sophia has been at the heart of Istanbul for 1,500 years.
The reconversion of Hagia Sophia into a mosque sparked criticism around the world. Now the Erdogan government wants to do the same with the Chora Museum, a former Byzantine church, alarming historians and Christians.
Ankara's decision to convert Hagia Sophia into a mosque has been met with disapproval across the bloc. EU chiefs have also been discussing China and Hong Kong during their first face-to-face talks in several months.
A Turkish court has revoked the Byzantine-era Hagia Sophia's museum status, with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan immediately signing a decree to open it to Muslim worshipers. The ancient building was once a cathedral.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan wants to turn Istanbul's world-famous tourist site into a mosque. He is trying to score points with Turkish voters, but his plans have encountered considerable resistance.
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