Court considers status of Istanbul’s iconic Hagia Sophia

ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — Turkey’s highest administrative court is considering a request for Istanbul’s iconic Hagia Sophia, a cathedral-turned-mosque that now serves as a museum, be converted 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 Turkish republic, 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 change its status to a museum. A decision is expected within two weeks.