World Council of Churches expresses dismay over Hagia Sophia

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — The head of the World Council of Churches has written to Turkey’s president about the “grief and dismay” among members over the decision to convert the Hagia Sophia landmark in Istanbul into a mosque. The council’s interim general secretary, Ioan Sauca, sent the letter Saturday to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Erdogan on Friday formally converted the 6th-century structure into a mosque. Originally a cathedral, Hagia Sophia was turned into a mosque after Istanbul’s conquest by the Ottomans in 1453 but had been a museum for the last 86 years, drawing millions of tourists annually.