Turkey’s Erdogan Presses to Convert Hagia Sophia Back Into a Mosque


ISTANBUL—Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has long used religious and nationalist symbolism to shore up support. Now he is reviving plans to convert Hagia Sophia, once one of Christendom’s most revered cathedrals, back into a mosque as he attempts to parry growing political and economic pressures in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

In its current form, Hagia Sophia dates back to the sixth century, when the Byzantine emperor Justinian I had it rebuilt. It was later converted into a mosque after Fatih Sultan Mehmet…



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