Reactions to the Turkish Supreme Administrative Court’s abolition of the Cabinet’s decision in 1934 to convert the Hagia Sophia from a mosque to a museum varied, between the welcome step and the opposition to it.
He congratulated the former Turkish President Abdullah Gul and leaders of the country's political parties, for reopening the Hagia Sophia Mosque for worship.
In a tweet on his account, Gul congratulated the reopening of the Hagia Sophia for worship, saying, "This historic decision delighted our dear people, and I congratulate everyone who contributed to it."
In turn, the head of the Future Party, Ahmet Davutoglu, said through his Twitter account, "Opening of the Hagia Sophia to worship is the longing of a longing that has lasted for decades."
"The responsible stance expressed by the government and the opposition is appreciated. My best wishes for the symbol of the conquest and the faith of the conqueror, the Hagia Sophia Mosque, which contains the accumulation of the entire Istanbul civilization," he added.
For her part, the head of the opposition "I" party, Maral Akshner, said through her Twitter account, "Mubarak, you, the Hagia Sophia Mosque."
President of the Democratic and Progress Party, Ali Babacan, through his Twitter account, congratulated the Hagia Sophia reopening for worship. "We will do our best to protect this unique architectural edifice, which represents a common historical heritage for mankind and transfer it to the future," he added.
On Friday, the Turkish Supreme Administrative Court overturned the cabinet decision of November 24, 1934, to transform the Hagia Sophia from a mosque into a museum.
Located in Istanbul's Sultanahmet district, Hagia Sophia has been used as a mosque for 481 years, and has been converted into a museum in 1934, which is one of the most important architectural monuments in the history of the Middle East.
Hamas and Muslim scholars
On Friday, the Palestinian Islamic Resistance Movement, Hamas, praised the Turkish judiciary's decision to reopen the Hagia Sophia mosque for prayer.
"This step is a decision that Muslims around the world are proud of," Raafat, head of the media movement for the movement abroad, Raafat once said, adding, "Unfortunately, there is a state of grief and sadness in some Arab official circles due to the Turkish authorities declaring Aya Sofia a mosque."
He continued, "We have not seen these people cry over the blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque, which has been subjected to violations by the Israeli occupation, and we have not seen them mourning during the Zionist attacks on the Dome of the Rock mosque in Al-Quds Al-Sharif."
For his part, Secretary General of the World Federation of Muslim Scholars Ali Muhyiddin al-Qarah Dagi said that the decision to return the Hagia Sophia to a mosque "expelled the hearts and hatreds of the patients of the hearts from the east and west."
"Muslim mosques in Andalusia have turned into churches, bars and night clubs, and the Babri Mosque in India has turned into a temple of idols, and they want to transform Jerusalem with all its sanctuaries as the capital of the Zionists," Qara Daghi said in two posts via his Facebook account.
"We did not hear a Western or eastern voice condemning these crimes, but converting the Hagia Sophia to a mosque expelled the hearts and hatreds of the patients of the hearts from the East and West."
A heritage of humanity
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Friday that the Hagia Sophia will remain a human heritage, opening its doors to all citizens, foreigners and non-Muslims.
"Like all our mosques, the doors of Hagia Sophia will be open to all citizens, foreigners and non-Muslims," he said in a speech after the court's decision.
He stressed that the Hagia Sophia will remain a common heritage of humanity, and will continue to embrace everyone in a more sincere and original way.
Erdogan called on everyone to respect the decision taken by the judicial and executive bodies in Turkey regarding Hagia Sophia, describing any position beyond expressing opinions, as "a violation of sovereignty."
He indicated that the Hagia Sophia is scheduled to open for worship on July 24, with Friday prayers. He stated that entry fees to the Hagia Sophia Mosque will be canceled after the museum has been lifted.
The Hagia Sophia is listed on the World Heritage List of the United Nations Educational, Cultural and Scientific Organization (UNESCO), and is one of the most important tourist destinations in Istanbul.
Yawuz Saleem Kiran, Turkish Deputy Foreign Minister, confirmed yesterday that Ankara fulfills its obligations towards the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) agreement to protect the world cultural and natural heritage.
In a tweet, he said, "Turkey fulfills its obligations towards the UNESCO Convention for the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage of 1972, in the matter of the Hagia Sophia."
He added that there is no text in the agreement preventing the change of the status of the heritage monuments, nor does it limit the state's exercise of sovereignty over the cultural assets on its lands.
Kiran stressed that the conversion of the Hagia Sophia from a museum to a mosque does not violate the international agreement.
Welcome to Malaysia
Malaysian civil organizations welcomed the decision of the Turkish judiciary, and the head of the Islamic Youth Movement in Malaysia, Muhammad Faisal Abdul Aziz, in a statement, extended his congratulations to Turkey on the decision, saying that Hagia Sophia is returning to his primary job as a mosque, which follows to stop Sultan Mehmed the Conqueror.
The head of the Consultative Council of Islamic Organizations (MAPIM), Muhammad Azmi Abdel Hamid, expressed his deep congratulations to Turkey on the decision.
He pointed out that the decision is legitimate and based on the law, adding that "no external party has the right to hold Turkey accountable for its right to return the Hagia Sophia to a mosque again."
He criticized the Western countries' dissatisfaction with the decision, calling it to announce its annoyance when Israel targeted mosques and churches.
French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian announced yesterday that his country "regrets the decision of the Turkish authorities to transfer the Hagia Sophia from a museum to a mosque."
"France regrets the decision of the Turkish State Council to amend the status of the Hagia Sophia Museum, and the decree of President Erdogan to place it under the authority of the Directorate of Religious Affairs. These two decisions question one of the most symbolic measures for a modern and secular Turkey," Ludrian said in a statement.
Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis announced that his country "condemns in the strongest terms" what he called "the conversion" of Hagia Sophia into a mosque, warning that this step would negatively affect the relations between Athens and Ankara.
On Friday, the United States expressed its "disappointment" with Ankara's decision to "convert" the Hagia Sophia into a mosque, demanding that the Turkish authorities make this visit to this historic landmark equally accessible to all.
"Our hope was disappointed by the decision of the Turkish government to change the status of Hagia Sophia," said State Department spokesperson Morgan Ortigas.
"We take note of the commitment of the Turkish government to allow everyone to visit the Hagia Sophia, and we look forward to seeing its plans regarding the ongoing supervision of the Hagia Sophia to ensure that it remains open to all without any hindrance."