The Hagia Sophia will remain a museum, after a petition – launched by the Turkish Union of Permanent Vakifs of Historic Monuments and the Environment – was overruled by the Constitutional Court.

The Union claimed that reading passages from the Quran and having Muslim prayers in the halls of the church should be allowed, but the Court did not comply with their request.

This was the third such attempt made by this non-profit organisation, after their 2004 plea towards the prime minister to change the law so that the Hagia Sophia could open as a mosque, which received no response, and their 2005 petition to the Council of State, which was also rejected.

After the Court’s decision was announced, the Union declared that this refusal constitutes a violation towards the freedom of religion.