- 転換（後出 convert ～ back into ... はここでは～を…に戻す）
- high (administrative) court
- 最高行政裁判所 (Council of State) のこと
- Orthodox Christian
- conquest by ... Empire
- 祈る（写真説明の prayer は祈り）
- throw one's weight behind ～
- ～ -oriented party
- Religious Affairs Presidency
- televised address
- sovereign right
- World Heritage
- urge ～ to ...
The president of Turkey on July 10 formally converted Istanbul's sixth-century Hagia Sophia back into a mosque, hours after a high court annulled a 1934 decision that had made the religious landmark a museum as a symbol of Christian and Muslim solidarity.
The decision sparked deep dismay among Orthodox Christians. Originally a cathedral for centuries, Hagia Sophia was turned into a mosque after Istanbul's conquest by the Ottoman Empire in 1453, but had been a museum for the last 86 years, drawing millions of tourists annually.
There was jubilation outside the terracotta-hued structure with its cascading domes and four minarets. Dozens of people awaiting the court's ruling chanted "Allah is great!" when the news broke. A large crowd later prayed outside it.
Turkey's high administrative court threw its weight behind a petition brought by a religious group and annulled the 1934 decision by the secular government that turned the site into a museum. Within hours, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who leads an Islamic-oriented party, signed a decree handing over Hagia Sophia to Turkey's Religious Affairs Presidency.
In a televised address, Erdogan said, "It is Turkey's sovereign right to decide for which purpose Hagia Sophia will be used." He rejected the idea that the decision ends Hagia Sophia's status as a structure that brings faiths together.
"Like all of our other mosques, the doors of Hagia Sophia will be open to all, locals or foreigners, Muslims and non-Muslims," Erdogan said.
Erdogan had spoken in favor of turning the hugely symbolic UNESCO World Heritage site back into a mosque despite widespread international criticism, including from U.S. and Orthodox Christian leaders, who had urged Turkey to keep its status as a museum.
Greece's Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said, "This decision clearly affects not only Turkey's relations with Greece but also its relations with the European Union, UNESCO and the world community as a whole." (AP)
[本文 - 312 words]