BEIRUT, LEBANON (7:10 P.M.) – Athens considered the decision issued by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Friday to convert the Hagia Sophia museum into a mosque and open it to visitors to pray is “an open provocation to the civilized world.”
“Today’s decision (about the Hagia Sophia museum) that came as a result of President Erdogan’s political will is an open provocation to the civilized world that recognizes the unique value and ecumenical nature of the memorial,” Greek Culture Minister Lina Mindoni said on Friday.
The Turkish Anadolu Agency indicated that Erdogan issued a formal decision to convert the Hagia Sophia administration to the presidency of religious affairs and open a mosque for prayers.
The Turkish judiciary had canceled the decision of the Turkish Cabinet dating back to 1934, which decided to convert the Hagia Sophia from a mosque into a museum.
On Friday, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) called on Turkey not to convert the Hagia Sophia Cathedral in Istanbul into a mosque, noting Turkey’s legal obligations.
“The Hagia Sophia, as part of Istanbul’s archaeological areas, is included in the World Heritage List as a museum. A number of legal obligations and obligations are attached to it. Thus the state must ensure that the exceptional total value of the buildings on this land does not change,” they said.