ANKARA -UNS : President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Sunday voiced the possibility of converting the Hagia Sophia, which has been used as a museum since 1935, back into a mosque.
“This is not unlikely. We might even change its name to Ayasofya Mosque,” Erdogan said during a live interview with Turkish broadcaster .
Asked whether the entrance fee to the city landmark might be waived, he said: “It’s not impossible… but we would not do it under the name ‘museum’ but ‘Hagia Sophia mosque’.”
He added: “Tourists come and go at the Blue Mosque. Do they pay anything? … Well, we will do the same with the Hagia Sofia.”
“This is not a strange proposal,” he said regarding the calls for converting the ancient building to a mosque that it served as for hundreds of years.
“As you know, the mosque was converted to a museum in 1935, as a reflection of CHP mentality. We may as well take a step and change that,” he concluded, pointing to the harshly secularist policies of the 1930’s Republican People’s Party (CHP), which is the main opposition today.