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International relations

Turkish plan to make Hagia Sophia a mosque splits friends and foes

Ankara leans on Pakistan, Malaysia and Indonesia with Arab ties at low point

Muslims gather for evening prayers in front of the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul, Turkey, July 10.   © Reuters

ISTANBUL -- Global public opinion is divided over Turkey's decision on July 10 to convert the historical Hagia Sophia museum in Istanbul into a mosque.

The Turkish Foreign Ministry shared a list of positive reactions to the decision with the Nikkei Asian Review, with more than 30 people and entities included. Those on the list included the Iranian foreign ministry, the Grand Mufti of Oman, the Deputy Chairman of the Pakistan Senate Saleem Mandviwalla, the leader of the opposition party in the Pakistan national assembly Shehbaz Sharif, various Malaysian and Indonesian members of parliament, leaders of Islamic non-governmental organizations, as well as scholars from Thailand.

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