Court considers status of Istanbul’s iconic Hagia Sophia

ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — A state attorney has recommended that Turkey’s highest administrative court reject a request to turn Istanbul’s iconic Hagia Sophia, a cathedral-turned-mosque that now serves as a museum, back into a place of Muslim worship. The 6th-century structure was the Byzantine Empire’s main cathedral before it was changed into an imperial mosque following the Ottoman conquest of Istanbul. Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder of modern Turkey, turned into a museum that attracts millions of tourists each year. On Thursday, the administrative court heard arguments by a group that is pressing for an annulment of a 1934 Council of Ministers decision that changed its status to a museum. A decision is expected within two weeks.