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The Hagia Sophia Museum was first dedicated as an Orthodox patriarchal basilica in 360. Hürriyet photo

The Hagia Sophia Museum was first dedicated as an Orthodox patriarchal basilica in 360. Hürriyet photo

A parliamentary commission is considering an application by citizens to turn the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul into a mosque.

Three citizens living in the northwestern province of Kocaeli appealed to the commission with a request to change the status of Hagia Sophia. A survey conducted with 401 people was attached to the application, in which more than 97 percent of interviewees requested the transformation of the ancient building into a mosque and afterwards for it to be reopened for Muslim worship.

The application has been taken under consideration by the Parliament’s Petition Commission, Anatolia news agency reported on Sunday, adding that the commission would be asking for the opinions of the related institutions on the issue.

As well as the application received from the Kocaeli citizens, the commission received 15 separate petitions within five days in the form of electronic mails, all asking for “opening of the Hagia Sophia to worship.”

The Hagia Sophia Museum was first dedicated as an Orthodox patriarchal basilica in 360. Until the year of 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 republican authorities in 1935 as a museum.

February/04/2013

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ismail demir

2/9/2013 3:23:28 AM

After orthodox Russian invasion of Tataristan at 16. century all mosques were destroyed, and only allowed to build at 1770.Normally Turkey should not allow any orthodox church existence builded before 1770 since no orthodox country allow mosque prior to that date.

Nageyec Conduz

2/5/2013 11:36:28 AM

@Nikos T, why don't you refer back at Christian conquest of Andalusia. all the great mosques were turned into churches. The great mosque of Cordoba as currently being the city cathedral is enough for you to make a sound judgement.

Brit in Turkey

2/5/2013 10:02:16 AM

Sid Mark: Re your reply to Hicks LONDON. I guess you are referring to the destruction of churches in TRNC. There are at least two that are still intact - the one in Girne and a tiny one in the hills above Girne. I agree the ones in Nicosia and Famagusta are a mess. It is difficult to imaging what it was like for the TCs after liberation in 1974 and how they must have hated anything Greek or Christian. But that is no excuse for not restoring the ruins afterwards.

Brit in Turkey

2/5/2013 9:51:45 AM

mara: It wasn't meant to be a proposal, just a statement of fact

Biricik

2/5/2013 6:50:54 AM

But why not? Than in Europe we can start turning the mosques into churches and synagoges

Nikos T.

2/4/2013 10:18:45 PM

@kerem, 400 years is just a small drop in the ocean history, especially the Greek one. Who can change that? @Nageyec, Aghia Sofia has been a church for 1100 years and turned by force to a mosque for 480 years. Sometimes people think that history starts and ends whenever it suits them. What would you think if an ancient mosque was turned into a church?

mara mcglothin

2/4/2013 9:39:54 PM

BRIT IN TURKEY So what are you proposing?

Sid Mark

2/4/2013 7:39:11 PM

@Hicks LONDON.Please,visit the north of Cyprus.

es 324

2/4/2013 7:07:38 PM

So a handful of petitioners to decide on the fate of a centuries old world herritage? It is stupid to even consider this request which should have been outright rejected as soon as received. As a Turkish citizen, I see this discussion to be resolved when founders of our republic converted Ayasofya into a museum which was a highly symbolic gesture of being equal distance to all faiths.

Peter Kypros

2/4/2013 6:42:04 PM

One can only visit Hagia Sofia (100% Greek name) to admire the beauty of the Byzantine Mosaics to decide what is best for humanity. This place belongs to humanity and next generations and not to some religious fanatics. Turning it back to what it was when it was build with Byzantine liturgy as it was as far back as possible would be the wisest choice and best for the humanity and economy of Turkey. After all there are many empty Mosques nearby that attract very few people as I saw when there.
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