There is no significant call for turning it back into a church. Christians get no “right of return” to Constantinople. “Muslims praying that historic museum in Turkey be turned into mosque,” by Ayla Jean Yackley for Reuters, May 27 (thanks to all who sent this in):
Thousands of devout Muslims prayed outside Turkey’s historic Hagia Sophia museum on Saturday to protest a 1934 law that bars religious services at the former church and mosque.
Worshippers shouted, “Break the chains, let Hagia Sophia Mosque open,” and “God is great” before kneeling in prayer as tourists looked on.
Turkey’s secular laws prevent Muslims and Christians from formal worship within the 6th-century monument, the world’s greatest cathedral for almost a millennium before invading Ottomans converted it into a mosque in the 15th century.
“Keeping Hagia Sophia Mosque closed is an insult to our mostly Muslim population of 75 million. It symbolises our ill-treatment by the West,” Salih Turhan, head of the Anatolian Youth Association, which organised the event, told the crowd, whose male and female worshippers prayed separately according to Islamic custom.
The government has rejected requests from both Christians and Muslims to hold formal prayers at the site, historically and spiritually significant to adherents of both religions….
In 2010, 200 or so Greek American Orthodox aborted plans to pray at Hagia Sophia after the Turkish government threatened to block their entry into the country on security grounds.
The Ecumenical Patriarchate, spiritual leader of the world’s 250 million Orthodox, does not support efforts to revert its former dominion into a church.
“We want it to remain a museum in line with the Republic of Turkey’s principles,” said Father Dositheos Anagnostopulos, the patriarch’s spokesman.
“If it were to become a mosque, Christians wouldn’t be able to pray there, and if it became a church it would be chaos.”
And everyone knows why there would be chaos.