BEIRUT, LEBANON (8:30 A.M.) – Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in a televised statement broadcast by the Anadolu News Agency, called on the international community to respect the Turkish decision to transform the Hagia Sophia back into a mosque.
In his speech, Erdogan stressed Ankara’s openness to all international views on the issue, stressing that the fate of Hagia Sophia is a Turkish sovereign right.
Erdogan noted that the right to dispose of Hagia Sophia is a pure Turkish right, and that no one has the right to interfere in it and that “at the end, the Hagia Sophia will return to a mosque as it is the will of Muhammad Al-Fateh.”
Erdogan considered that Turkey contains 435 temples and churches open to worship, and that this scene is an expression of “our understanding that sees our differences as wealth.”
He stressed that any position regarding Hagia Sophia goes beyond expressing opinions “we consider it a violation of our independence”, and that the right of the Turkish people to it exceeds the right of those who established it 1500 years ago.
Erdogan indicated that “the Hagia Sophia, like all our mosques, will open its doors to all citizens, foreigners and non-Muslims”, and that this step will be recorded by history in its pages, as he put it.