Turkey violated international law by converting the Byzantine-era cathedral into a mosque, the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America claims.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and thousands of other Muslims gathered for Friday prayers at the nearly 1,500-year-old house of worship.
“Don’t cover my mouth,” he told his killers, according to a Turkish newspaper. “I have asthma, don’t do it. You’ll suffocate me.”
His warning was met with sharp rebuke from Ankara.
Investigators are looking into the possibility that the missing journalist's remains may have been taken to a forest outside Istanbul or to another city.
Ankara officials said such activities could jeopardize public safety.
It was the second quake of magnitude exceeding 6.0 in the broader region this year, a level that can cause considerable damage.
The president also took aim at the European Union.
Erdogan had to give up the party's leadership when he was elected president nearly 3 years ago. That changed with April’s referendum.