Istanbul: Turkish President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Friday ordered another ancient church that became a mosque and then a popular Istanbul museum to be turned back into a place of Muslim worship.
The church, situated near the ancient city walls, is famed for its elaborate mosaics and frescoes. It dates to the 4th century, although the edifice took on its current form in the 11th-12th centuries.
The change in the status of the monument was decided in November 2019, when Turkey’s highest administrative court ruled that the 1945 decision to change its status to a museum was unlawful, however the decision was only implemented on Friday.
However, the opposition HDP party lawmaker Garo Paylan called the transformation “a shame for our country”.
“One of the symbols of our country’s deep, multicultural identity and multi-religious history has been sacrificed,” he said in a tweet.
Kariye Müzesi de Erdoğan’ın kararıyla cami yapıldı.
Ülkemizin çok kimlikli, çok inançlı derin tarihinin sembollerinden biri daha TEKÇİLİĞE kurban edildi.
Her yerde ibadet edilecek çok sayıda cami varken neden bitmiyor bu hırs?
Çok yazık oluyor ülkemize… pic.twitter.com/Qz4DtHvFHE
— Garo Paylan – Կարօ Փայլան (@GaroPaylan) August 21, 2020
The decision to transform the Kariye Museum into a mosque came just a month after a similarly controversial conversion for the UNESCO World Heritage-recognised Hagia Sophia.