It seems two competing versions can be found on the net. Who are we going to believe. One says the mosque was sold and the relevant documents are in a museum. The other says it was converted by force:
Who to believe??
“..... In the midst of unbelievable slaughter of thousands who took refuge in Hagia Sophia, the Turkish Islamic Sultan, Mehmet II, rode his horse into the church, mounted the great altar and declared the cathedral church of the East was now a muslim mosque. Mehmet declared Hagia Sophia to be his personal property and had the last survivors cleared out. More than 20,000 were killed and the rest were sold into slavery or paid ransoms to their captors. The poor and the old were sacrificed in the atrium where there were heaps of the dead piled up. All of the objects used in Christian worship including the iconostasis, the ciborium, and the ambo were swept away and the sultan had the church washed in rosewater to cleanse it for muslim worship. The roses were in bloom when the city fell.....”
“...... The Russian Orthodox Church expressed dismay at Turkey's decision to revoke the museum status of Hagia Sophia, accusing it of ignoring voices of millions of Christians.
"The concern of millions of Christians has not been heard," Russian Orthodox Church spokesman Vladimir Legoida said in comments carried by the Russian news agency Interfax.
"Today's court ruling shows that all calls for the need for extreme delicacy in this matter were ignored," Legoida said.
The Russian Orthodox Church previously urged caution over calls to alter the status of the historic former cathedral, and Russian Patriarch Kirill said he was "deeply concerned" about such a potential move and called it a "threat to the whole of Christian civilisation".
Previously, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, the spiritual head of some 300 million Orthodox Christians worldwide and based in Istanbul, said converting it into a mosque would disappoint Christians and would "fracture" East and West....”
Strange part is no government official in Turkey is responding by asking critics to get lost because the Cathedral was sold by Christians!!! Erdogan has not even once referred it's purchase but he is coming up with all other kinds of reasons to present his case. Once wonders though, why he did not take this step when for years he was the mayor of Istanbul.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has rejected international condemnation over the decision to change the status of Istanbul's landmark Hagia Sophia from a museum to a mosque, saying it represented his country's will to use its "sovereign rights".