Paris regrets Turkey's decision to change the status of Hagia Sophia
France deplores Turkey's decision to change the status of Hagia Sophia in Istanbul, the head of the French foreign Ministry Jean-Yves Le Drian.
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.
"These decisions threaten one of the most iconic acts of modern and secular Turkey. The integrity of this religious, architectural and historical gems, the symbol of freedom of religion, tolerance and diversity, included in the list of UNESCO world heritage, must be preserved. Hagia Sophia should continue to represent the diversity of religious heritage, dialogue and tolerance," - said Le Drian.
The Hagia Sophia was founded by the Christian Emperor Justinian and inaugurated 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.