Dr. Mine Yildirim is Head of the Norwegian Helsinki Committee’s Freedom of Belief Initiative in Turkey
The hugely symbolic Hagia Sophia has regained its status as a mosque after nearly ninety years. In July 2020, the Turkish Council of State Tenth Chamber (the highest administrative court, and hereafter, the Council of State) annulled the 1934 Cabinet Decree making it a museum. The Hagia Sophia’s reinstatement as a mosque has aroused much attention to its political meaning and the nationalist religious sentiments around it—but what is the legal basis of the Council of State judgment? And what does it mean for religious freedom and the rule of law in Turkey?