Culture and Tourism Ministry hands over some services at Hagia Sophia to Diyanet
Turkey’s Culture and Tourism Ministry has handed over the management of some services at the Hagia Sophia to the Presidency of Religious Affairs (Diyanet) after its conversion into a mosque from a museum late last week.
“As it used to be, it will be open to domestic and foreign tourists. Moreover, with the order of our president, restoration works and budgets have been increased massively. We are speeding up restorations with very significant budgets,” Culture and Tourism Minister Mehmet Nuri Ersoy said in a protocol ceremony.
Ersoy and Diyanet head Ali Erbaş on July 16 signed a cooperation protocol on “Protection, Development, Promotion and Management Activities to be carried out in the Hagia Sophia Kebir Mosque Sheriff.”
According to the protocol, religious services at the Hagia Sophia will be carried out by the Diyanet, and preservation activities will be carried out by the Culture and Tourism Ministry.
Ersoy also stated that the Hagia Sophia will be open to tourists free of charge.
The main principles for the protection of Hagia Sophia have been determined by the protocol, he said. “It has been once again signed that the preservation of the historical and cultural aesthetic values of the mosque will be realized,” Ersoy noted.
“Religious services in the Hagia Sophia Mosque will be carried out by our Diyanet. We will fulfill protection and restoration. Nothing has changed,” he stated.
“Hagia Sophia will continue to serve all humanity,” Erbaş said for his part.
He added that they were working to preserve the heritage “in the best way,” in cooperation with the ministry and General Directorate of Foundations.