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Istanbul: Religious Buildings

Question for Foreign and Commonwealth Office

UIN HL6832, tabled on 14 July 2020

To ask Her Majesty's Government what representations they have made to the government of Turkey about the decision to convert the Hagia Sofia into a mosque.

Answered on

28 July 2020

While we note the concern that President Erdogan's decision to turn Hagia Sophia into a mosque has caused internationally, the Government regards this as a sovereign matter for Turkey. We have therefore not discussed the matter with Turkey. However, we would expect that Hagia Sophia - part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site - remains accessible to all, as testament to its global cultural and religious significance and 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, which would be consistent with the Turkish constitution's provisions for freedom of conscience and religion for all.