A Turkish court on Thursday heard a petition seeking to convert the Hagia Sophia, one of Turkey's most visited and beloved tourist sites, back into a mosque.
"A symbol of tolerance and diversity, this place must remain open to all," a French Foreign Ministry spokesman said.
France's appeal comes after the spiritual head of the world’s Orthodox Christians warned that converting Istanbul’s sixth century Hagia Sophia back into a mosque would sow division.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also urged Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan not to convert the Hagia Sophia into a mosque.
The Hagia Sophia is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that was at the core of both the Christian Byzantine and Muslim Ottoman
empires, and is today one of Turkey's most visited monuments.
Istanbul’s Hagia Sophia sees first Quran reading in 85 yearsThe Hagia Sophia was turned into a museum accessible to all by the secular founders of modern Turkey in the 1930s Art and culture
Turning Istanbul’s Hagia Sophia into mosque would be divisive: Orthodox PatriarchConverting Istanbul’s sixth century Hagia Sophia back into a mosque would sow division, the spiritual head of the world’s Orthodox Christians warned ... Middle East