WASHINGTON – The United States reiterated its disappointment with the decision of the Turkish government to convert Hagia Sophia to a mosque, which formally occurred in Istanbul on Friday, in a statements on online Hellas Journal outlet.
Describing the UNESCO World Heritage monument "a remarkable building" and "a testament to religious expression, and artistic and technical genius," the US State Department called on Turkey to maintain its legacy.
The State Department's full statement follows: "As we have said previously, the United States is disappointed by the Government of Turkey’s decision to change the status of the Hagia Sophia from a museum to a mosque.
"The Hagia Sophia is a testament not only to religious expression, but also to artistic and technical genius. We note the government of Turkey committed to preserving and displaying the Hagia Sophia’s historic religious iconography and ensuring accessibility without impediment to all visitors.
"The United States calls on the government of Turkey to maintain the legacy of this remarkable building and its unsurpassed ability — so rare in the modern world — to serve humanity as a much-needed bridge between those of differing faith traditions and cultures."