Erdogan Confirms Ancient Istanbul Orthodox Church Converted to a Mosque

13th May 2024

Turkish President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, on Monday confirmed the reopening for Muslim worship of a mosque in Istanbul converted from an ancient Byzantine orthodox church.

“The Kariye mosque in its new form will remain open to everyone,” he said, addressing a press conference with Greek Prime Minister, Kyriakos Mitsotakis.

Greece’s premier, who had appealed against the conversion of the Holy Saviour in Chora, decorated with 14th-century frescoes of the Last Judgement that are still treasured by Christians.

The church was converted into Kariye Mosque half a century after the 1453 conquest of Constantinople by the Ottoman Turks.

It became the Kariye Museum after World War II, when Turkey sought to create a more secular republic from the ashes of the Ottoman Empire.

Mitsotakis expressed his dissatisfaction with Erdogan on Monday in Ankara.

“I discussed with Mr. Erdogan the conversion… I expressed my dissatisfaction to him,” the Greek premier said after meeting with the Turkish leader.