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Turkey: Istanbul residents react to Hagia Sophia mosque conversion delay03:21

Turkey: Istanbul residents react to Hagia Sophia mosque conversion delay

Turkey, Istanbul
July 2, 2020 at 20:09 GMT -00:00 · Published

As Turkey's Council of State delayed its decision on whether to convert the Hagia Sophia museum back into a mosque on Thursday, Istanbul residents gave their thoughts on the matter.

"We've had a mosque before, we want it to have a mosque again," said Suleyman Ozutuk, a local resident.

Others shared Mr Ozutuk's enthusiasm about the prospect of letting the building return to its former use.

"Let it be a mosque. Everyone is coming from abroad, I've been coming two years for example. I come here every two months to see it. When people come to the mosque, they feel rejuvenated," said Gulcehre Rahimov, another local.

The Council will reportedly reconvene within the next 15 days to issue a final decision.

Prior to its usage as a mosque and then a museum, the structure had been a church built by the Byzantine Empire. The move to change its status again has drawn ire from the Greek government and the Eastern Orthodox Church, whose ecumenical patriarch, Bartholomew I, resides in Istanbul.

Turkey: Istanbul residents react to Hagia Sophia mosque conversion delay03:21
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As Turkey's Council of State delayed its decision on whether to convert the Hagia Sophia museum back into a mosque on Thursday, Istanbul residents gave their thoughts on the matter.

"We've had a mosque before, we want it to have a mosque again," said Suleyman Ozutuk, a local resident.

Others shared Mr Ozutuk's enthusiasm about the prospect of letting the building return to its former use.

"Let it be a mosque. Everyone is coming from abroad, I've been coming two years for example. I come here every two months to see it. When people come to the mosque, they feel rejuvenated," said Gulcehre Rahimov, another local.

The Council will reportedly reconvene within the next 15 days to issue a final decision.

Prior to its usage as a mosque and then a museum, the structure had been a church built by the Byzantine Empire. The move to change its status again has drawn ire from the Greek government and the Eastern Orthodox Church, whose ecumenical patriarch, Bartholomew I, resides in Istanbul.

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