Washington, July 11 (IANS) The United States said that it was “disappointed” by the Turkish government's decision of changing Istanbul's iconic Hagia Sophia museum into a mosque.
“We are disappointed by the decision by the government of Turkey to change the status of the Hagia Sophia,” State Department spokesperson Morgan Ortagus said in a statement on Friday, Xinhua news agency reported.
“We understand the Turkish Government remains committed to maintaining access to the Hagia Sophia for all visitors, and look forward to hearing its plans for continued stewardship of the Hagia Sophia to ensure it remains accessible without impediment for all,” she added.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan declared earlier in the day that Hagia Sophia would be opened for Muslim prayers.
The 1,500-year-old Hagia Sophia, which first served as a cathedral and later an Ottoman imperial mosque, was transformed into a museum in 1935.