U.S. disappointed by the decision of Turkey's Hagia Sophia
The United States is disappointed by the decision of the Turkish authorities to transform the Istanbul Hagia Sophia into a mosque, and waiting to hear from Ankara information about how the historical site will remain available to all visitors, said state Department spokesman Morgan Ortagus.
The state Council, Turkey's highest administrative court on Friday annulled the decision of 1934 the transformation of Hagia Sophia into a Museum. Immediately after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced that he had signed a decree about the transformation of the Cathedral into a mosque and the beginning of Muslim worship there.
"We are disappointed by the decision of the Turkish government to change the status of Hagia Sophia. This building is an important part of "historical heritage of Istanbul", UNESCO world heritage site in recognition of its rich multicultural history," - said in a statement Ortagus received by RIA Novosti.
Ortagus noted that the Turkish government has pledged to maintain access to Hagia Sophia for all visitors. "Look forward to hear his plans for continued management of the Hagia Sophia, to ensure unhindered access for all," she said.
The Hagia Sophia was founded by the Christian Emperor Justinian, and was opened on 27 December 537. Cathedral over a thousand years was the largest Church in the Christian world. After the capture of Constantinople by the Ottomans and the fall of the Byzantine Empire in 1453, the Cathedral was converted into a mosque but since 1934 the building by decree of the founder of the modern Turkish state Kemal Ataturk became a Museum and was included in the world heritage list of UNESCO.