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UN experts urge Turkey to use Hagia Sophia as 'intercultural space'

Experts from the United Nations called on the Turkish government to use the contested landmark as a place of interfaith dialogue.
ISTANBUL, TURKEY - FEBRUARY 11: The ceiling of one of the dome's inside the Hagia Sophia Museum is seen on February 11, 2016 in Istanbul, Turkey. The Hagia Sophia (Ayasofya) Museum is one of the most visited tourist attractions in Turkey, with more than 3 million visitors per year. Constructed in 537 the museum originally served as an Orthodox Cathedral, later a Roman Catholic church and was converted into a mosque when Constantinople was conquered by the Ottoman Turks in 1453. In 1935 it was opened as a mu

The Hagia Sophia should be used as an intercultural space, two UN human rights experts said Friday, suggesting Turkey’s conversion of the contested landmark “could reflect a supremacist view of history and culture.” 

“It would be an historic mistake at this difficult global moment to take actions which divide religious and cultural groups in Turkey and beyond, rather than uniting them,” Karima Bennoune, special rapporteur in the field of cultural rights, said in a statement. 

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