Turkish Deputy Foreign Minister Yavuz Selim Kiran confirmed that Turkey will continue to protect the country's cultural and religious heritage, and that any decision regarding Hagia Sophia is an internal Turkish decision.
This came in his tweet on Friday, in response to a statement by Sam Brownback, the ambassador of religious freedom at the US State Department, regarding Hagia Sophia.
"Don't worry Brownback, Turkey will continue to protect its cultural and religious heritage, and any decision about Hagia Sophia is a Turkish internal decision," announced Kiran.
Kiran pointed out that Turkey maintains 18 monuments of the World Heritage List.
Brownback has previously stated that Hagia Sophia has spiritual and cultural significance for billions of believers around the world. He called on the Turkish government to preserve the status of Hagia Sophia as a museum to be accessible for everyone.
Hagia Sophia is an artistic and architectural edifice located in the Sultanahmet area of Istanbul.
The monument was used as a mosque for 481 years, and was converted into a museum in 1934. Hagia Sophia is considered to be one of the most important architectural constructions in the history of the Middle East.