The meeting of the Turkish Supreme court on whether the Hagia Sophia will be converted into a Mosque lasted only 17 minutes before adjourning to meet again in 15 days when it is expected to rule on the matter.
The meeting came amid widespread reactions and interventions that have brought the issue to the forefront of public debate.
According to “Yeni Safak”, the Court ruled that the 1934 decree that turned Hagia Sophia into a museum was legal.
However, the decision, the article points out can be changed with a new presidential decree which would suffice to change the status of the museum.
The decision effectively means the current Turkish president will now have to decide whether to satisfy his constituents by turning the UNESCO World Heritage site into a mosque or whether he wants to use the issue as a political “weapon” until the next election.
In any case, Erdogan will have to factor in the international reactions his decision might cause, and especially the reaction of the United States, which has called on Ankara to respect the current status of Hagia Sophia.