Turkish authorities are reportedly moving ahead with the conversion of another Byzantine Greek Orthodox church into a mosque. The Chora Monastery Church in Istanbul will be open to Muslim worshippers for Friday prayers on February 23, according to a report in the Yeni Safak newspaper.
The plan to convert the church, which had been operating as a museum for nearly 80 years, dates from 2020, when Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan issued a decree that also included turning the iconic Hagia Sophia church into a mosque.
While Hagia Sophia was inaugurated as a mosque in July of that year, the Chora Church scheme was put on hold so that restoration work could be carried out. Famous for its outstanding Late Byzantine mosaics and frescoes, it had been converted into a mosque in the 16th century after the Ottoman conquest of Constantinople (modern-day Istanbul) in 1453, before it became a museum in 1945.