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Religious controversy hits Istanbul landmark

As public pressure builds, deputy PM says he is "hopeful" Turkey's famous Hagia Sophia will be redesignated as mosque.

Last updated: 21 Dec 2013 00:44
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Opened in 537AD, the Hagia Sophia was the seat of the Eastern Orthodox church for nearly a millennium. It was later converted into a mosque, and in 1931, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk had it turned into a museum, banning all overt worship.

Now, Muslim groups in Turkey are gaining momentum in their bid to turn the world-famous Hagia Sophia back into a mosque - but some are concerned this is another instance of the government trying to push for a religious state.

Al Jazeera's Anita McNaught reports from Istanbul.

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Al Jazeera
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