Controversy continues over role of Hagia Sophia

Devout Muslims in Istanbul are calling for the re-opening of the historic 6th century Hagia Sofia as a mosque. The move would break a Turkish law prohibiting worship in the monument.

"Keeping Hagia Sophia Mosque closed is an insult to our mostly Muslim population of 75 million," said Salih Turhan, head of the Anatolian Youth Association. The government has also refused to allow Christians to formally worship at the site.

The Hagia Sophia was built in the 6th century at a Byzantine Christian cathedral. It was converted to a mosque in the 15th century when the Ottoman Empire defeated the Byzantines. In modern times, the historic building has been open to tourists as a museum.