Erdogan: Some countries' statements on Hagia Sophia - direct interference in Turkey's internal affairs
BAKU, Azerbaijan, July 3
By Rufiz Hafizoglu - Trend:
Statements of some countries on Hagia Sophia are direct interference in Turkey's internal affairs, the country’s President Recep Teyyib Erdogan said, Trend reports on July 3 citing Turkish media.
“Ankara will decide on the status of Hagia Sophia on its own,” the head of state said.
The president added that in Turkey, churches and synagogues function without any problems.
Spokesman of Turkish Foreign Ministry Hami Aksoy said that the statement by the US Department of State regarding Hagia Sophia is surprising.
Aksoy noted that Hagia Sophia is a property of Turkey, like all other cultural values of the country.
The spokesman also added that everyone is free to express their thoughts, but "no one has the right to speak about our sovereign rights via 'warning and diktat' method."
Earlier, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called on the Turkish authorities to maintain the museum status of Hagia Sophia.
Shortly before this, the leader of the Nationalist Party of Turkey Devlet Bahceli put forward a proposal to use Hagia Sophia as a mosque. According to him, the museum is part of Muslim culture and should be used for its original purpose.
In March 2019, Turkish President Erdogan said that Hagia Sophia could begin to function as a mosque-museum.
Before that, Yusif Halacoglu, MP and deputy chairman of the opposition party of the Turkish National Movement, proposed to return the status of a mosque to the Hagia Sophia Museum.
As reported, a corresponding appeal was sent to the Turkish parliament to restore the status of the mosque.
Earlier, another opposition party in Turkey - the Party of Great Unity - also proposed returning the status of a mosque to the Hagia Sophia Museum.
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