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PARIS, July 10: The United Nations Education Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) on Friday expressed deep regret over a Turkish decision to change the status of the Hagia Sophia Museum in Istanbul and revert it back to its function as a Mosque.
UNESCO, which has registered Hagia Sophia as a World Heritage monument, said it had made its position of concern known to Turkey’s representative to the UN body, which is based in Paris.
Director-General at UNESCO Audrey Azoulay said in a statement that she “regrets the decision of the Turkish authorities” which was taken without consultations or discussions.
In its history, Hagia Sophia has been a Byzantine Cathedral and then a Mosque in the Ottoman period before being designated a museum in the 20th century. Turkish authorities have said the edifice will be open to Muslims and non-Muslims.(KUNA)