16:09 GMT07 August 2020
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    MOSCOW (Sputnik) - The Kremlin considers the status of Hagia Sophia Turkey's internal affair, but hopes that Ankara will take the church's importance into consideration, presidential Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Monday.

    "We cannot comment on the internal affairs of Turkey," Peskov said. "I can only say that we hope that the status of Sophia as the World Heritage Site will be taken into consideration".

    According to Peskov, the church is not just an important tourist landmark, it has "spiritual value."

    "Of course, we hope that our colleagues and partners will take all this into account," the spokesman said.

    Last year, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan suggested that Hagia Sophia, formerly the Church of the Holy Wisdom, which used to be an Orthodox Christian cathedral before becoming a mosque and then a museum, could become a mosque again with free admission. Earlier in July, Turkey's Council of State held a meeting on the matter, and a final decision on the fate of the UNESCO World Heritage Site is expected to be made by mid-July.

    Russian Orthodox Church, the US and Greece called on Turkey to preserve the museum states of Hagia Sophia. Ankara, however, considers the issue to be Turkey's internal affair and opposes any foreign intervention in the decision-making process.

    Tags:
    Turkey, Hagia Sophia
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