Skip to main content

Istanbul: Religious Buildings

Question for Foreign and Commonwealth Office

UIN 73153, tabled on 13 July 2020

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what the Government's policy is on the President of Turkey’s proposal to designate the Hagia Sophia as a mosque.

Answered on

22 July 2020

We have noted President Erdogan's decision to turn Hagia Sophia into a mosque. While we note the concern this action has caused internationally, the Government regards this as a sovereign matter for Turkey. We have therefore not discussed the matter with other countries or organisations. However, we would expect that Hagia Sophia - part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site - remains accessible to all, as testament to Turkey's rich and diverse historical and cultural legacy, and that its precious artefacts are preserved. We therefore welcome the public statements by Turkish leaders that this historic building will continue to be accessible to people of all faiths and nationalities.