CULTURE | Gli The Cat Can Stay Even As Istanbul’s Hagia Sophia Changes

ISTANBUL – With thousands of Instagram followers and even a former U.S. President as fan, Gli the cat is almost as famous as her home, Istanbul’s ancient Hagia Sophia.

But with the decision to turn the museum into a mosque, Turks have been wondering whether Gli will  to move out – with the question cropping up daily on local news outlets and social media.

The grey cat with shining green, crossed eyes, has become a favourite with visitors, including former U.S. President Barack Obama, who was filmed stroking her during a trip in 2009.

Authorities have made clear Hagia Sophia can remain as her home.

Ibrahim Kalim, spokesman for President Tayyip Erdogan, told Reuters that Gli, as well as all other cats in the area, would stay where they were.

‘That cat has become very famous, and there are others who haven’t become that famous yet. That cat will  be there, and all cats are welcome to our mosques’, he said.

That’s bound to be welcome news to Umut Bahceci, a tour guide who started an Instagram account for Gli four years ago and now has more than 48,000 followers. The account is filled with photos of the cat, some tagged by the tourists who meet her.

‘I started noticing Gli every time I went (to Hagia Sophia) because Gli was posing for people like a model’, she told Reuters. ‘I get messages such as, ‘Gli we will come to Istanbul to see you’. This is truly a very nice feeling’.

Hagia Sophia was  a Christian Byzantine cathedral for 900 years before it was seized by Ottoman conquerors and served as a mosques until 1934.

A court ruled this month that the building’s conversation to a museum then was unlawful. Erdogan immediately declared the building  a mosque once more, with the first prayers to be held this Friday.


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LONDON – Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Britain stood ready to provide any support it could to help Beirut after a massive explosion in the city’s port area killed 25 people and injured more than 2,500. ‘The pictures and videos from Beirut  tonight are shocking’, Johnson wrote on Twitter. ‘All of my thoughts and prayer … Continue reading BREAKING NEWS | U.K. PM Johnson Offers Support To Beirut After Massive Blast

BREAKING NEWS | Massive Blast Rips Through Beirut, Killing 50 And Injuring Thousands

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BREAKING NEWS | Saudi Arabia Following With Great Concern Consequences Of Beirut’s Explosion: SPA

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TRAVEL | Jordan Delays Resuming International Flight After COVID-19 Surge Abroad

AMMAN – Jordan on Tuesday postponed a resumption of international flight services that was planned for Wednesday almost five months after they were suspended due to the coronavirus outbreak, officials said. Civil Aviation Commission chief Haitham Mistro has announced last month that Queen Alia International Airport outside the capital Amman would reopen on Aug.5 for … Continue reading TRAVEL | Jordan Delays Resuming International Flight After COVID-19 Surge Abroad

SPORT | Red Card For Virus As Saudi Pro League Returns With Riyadh Derby

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ROYALS | Former King Juan Carlos To Leave Spain Amid Corruption Allegations

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BUSINESS | Trump To Give TikTok’s Chinese Owner 45 Days To Agree Sale – Sources

NEW YORK – President Donald Trump has agreed to give Chine’s ByteDance 45 days to negotiate a sale of popular short-video app TikTok to Microsoft Corp, three people familiar with the matter said on Saunday. U.S. Official said TikTok under its Chinese parent poses a national risk because of the personal data it handles. Trump … Continue reading BUSINESS | Trump To Give TikTok’s Chinese Owner 45 Days To Agree Sale – Sources

LIFESTYLE | There’s A New Baccarat London’s Harrods

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