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10/28/2020 Turkey (International Christian Concern) –  Nearly two months after Turkey’s President Erdogan issued an order converting the historic Chora Church from a museum into a mosque, Islamic prayers are finally scheduled to occur on October 30th. Photos show that the centuries old Christian frescoes and mosaics have been completely covered, raising concerns about how these fixtures were installed and how it will impact the integrity of these historical artifacts. The scheduled prayers will complete the church’s transformation into a mosque.

This transformation was not unexpected, as the Council of State had ruled in November 2019 that using the building as a museum was illegal. They were referencing the law of immovables, which states that once a building becomes a mosque, it can never be anything else. The church was converted into a mosque following the Ottoman-era conquest in 1511, and then later turned into a museum by the Republic of Turkey in 1945. At the time of the Council of State’s ruling about the Chora Church, it was anticipated that this decision was intended to pave the way for converting Hagia Sophia into a mosque, which indeed occurred this past July.

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