In the wake of the decision of the Supreme Turkish Court as to whether Hagia Sophia will be turned into a mosque, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement that the United States “urges the government of Turkey to continue to maintain the Hagia Sophia as a museum, as an exemplar of its commitment to respect the faith traditions and diverse history that contributed to the Republic of Turkey, and to ensure it remains accessible to all.”

Ankara’s response has been strong, with the vice-president of the Justice and Development Party, Numan Kurtulmuş, saying that “the responsibility for deciding on the status of Hagia Sophia, which is a matter of Turkey’s independence, belongs exclusively to Turkey. We don’t need advice and suggestions from abroad”.