Istanbul’s Hagia Sophia, originally a Byzantine Christian church, might be turned into a mosque again – a potential back-down from the legacy of Turkey’s secular government that turned the site into a museum in 1935.
“This is not unlikely,” President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said during a live interview with Turkish television on Monday, adding, “We might even change its name to Ayasofya Mosque.”
The Hagia Sophia became a museum under Turkey’s secularist government back in 1935, but “we may as well take a step and change that,” he said.
Erdogan hinted that the change in status would benefit tourists. “Tourists come and go at the Blue Mosque. Do they pay anything?” he asked, referring to another popular site in Istanbul. “Well, we will do the same with the Hagia Sofia.”
The Hagia Sophia was first built as a church by the Byzantine Empire in the 6th century and served as the main Orthodox Christian church. Following the conquest of Con