Aya Sofia, located in the Turkish city of Istanbul, has been declared a mosque again by a court instead of a museum. The Turkish president has also hinted at offering prayers in it.

The United States has expressed frustration with Turkey’s decision to turn the Byzantine monument Aya Sofia back into a mosque. In a statement, the Washington administration called for equal access to the site for all tourists. Significantly, the site, located in the historic Turkish city of Istanbul, is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The US statement came in the context of the Turkish Supreme Court’s decision to restore Sofia as a mosque. State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus expressed frustration over the change in Sofia’s status.

Morgan Ortegas added that the Turkish government is expected to maintain its current status of allowing all tourists to visit Aya Sofia. A US State Department spokesman expressed hope that the Ankara government would soon formulate its policy. On the other hand, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoآنan has announced to offer prayers at the historic Aya Sofia on Friday, July 24.

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