By Emre Aytekin
ANKARA (AA) - Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) is happy with the opening of Hagia Sophia as a mosque, and the Greek Cypriot administration has no right to object to the decision, country's Prime Minister Ersin Tatar said on Friday.
"Hagia Sophia has been Turkish, a mosque and a world heritage since 1453. The decision to use it as a mosque, at the same time to be visited as a museum, is sound and it is pleasing," he said.
Tatar added that Greek Cypriot administration, any other state or institution should not object to this decision.
"Turkish public has always been respectful to all the beliefs. Different meanings should not be searched under this decision. Especially the Greek Cypriot administration, who burned down our mosques, should not have a say in this," Tatar said.
He congratulated Turkey and wished it will be a good decision for the Muslim world and the entire humanity.
Earlier on Friday, a Turkish court annulled a 1934 cabinet decree, which had turned Istanbul's Hagia Sophia into a museum. This verdict by the court paved the way for its use again as a mosque after 85 years.
The court ruled that the architectural gem was owned by a foundation established by Sultan Mehmet II, the conqueror of Istanbul, and presented to the community as a mosque -- a status that cannot be legally changed.
Hagia Sophia was used as a church for centuries under the rule of the Byzantine Empire. It was turned into a mosque following the conquest of Istanbul in 1453. In 1935, Hagia Sophia was converted into a museum.