July 10, 2020 / 5:32 PM / a month ago

UNESCO says World Heritage Committee to review Hagia Sophia

A Muslim man prays in front of the Hagia Sophia or Ayasofya, after a court decision that paves the way for it to be converted from a museum back into a mosque, in Istanbul, Turkey, July 10, 2020. REUTERS/Murad Sezer

PARIS (Reuters) - UNESCO said on Friday its World Heritage Committee would review Hagia Sophia’s status after Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan declared the Istanbul monument a mosque.

“It is regrettable that the Turkish decision was not the subject of dialog nor notification beforehand,” the United Nation’s cultural body said in a statement.

“UNESCO calls on the Turkish authorities to open a dialog without delay in order to avoid a step back from the universal value of this exceptional heritage whose preservation will be reviewed by the World Heritage Committee in its next session,” it said.

Reporting by Leigh Thomas; Editing by Chris Reese

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