Turkey's president has announced that Istanbul's Hagia Sophia will be converted back into a mosque. A court ruling revoked the monument's status as a museum, clearing the way for the UNESCO world heritage site to be reopened for Muslim worship.
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.
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.
Istanbul's Hagia Sophia has opened for Muslim Friday prayers for the first time since the museum was changed back to a mosque. High profile guests joined the crowds of worshippers at the ancient site.
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