The head of the Orthodox Church of Greece said Monday that Turkey would not dare to turn Hagia Sophia, the historic former cathedral in Istanbul, into a mosque.
Visiting the Messenia region in Greece, Archbishop Ieronymos answered a local television channel’s questions and said: “They play with any game they can get their hands on. This is also a game. I believe they will not dare.”
Turkey's top court is debating whether one of the architectural wonders of the world can be converted into a mosque. The Council of State on Thursday completed the hearing on whether Hagia Sophia should remain a museum or be turned into a mosque and would deliver a written verdict within 15 days.
Some regional church leaders, also known as metropolitans, in Greece also commented on the issue of Hagia Sophia status. Metropolitan Eugenios of Rethymno said Hagia Sophia built as a church and added: “We pray for it to remain as a museum.”
On Monday, the leader of Russia's Orthodox Church Patriarch Kirill also said he was "deeply concerned" by calls in Turkey to alter the status of the Hagia Sophia.
The Hagia Sophia, one of the world’s most important historical and cultural heritage sites, was built in the sixth century during the reign of the Byzantine Empire and served as the seat of the Greek Orthodox Church. It was converted into an imperial mosque with the Ottoman conquest of Istanbul in 1453. The structure was converted into a museum during the strictly secular single-party rule in 1935, but there have been discussions about converting it back to a mosque, with public demand to restore it as a place of worship gaining traction on social media.
While some groups have long been pressing for the structure, which they regard as a Muslim Ottoman legacy, to be converted back into a mosque, others believe the UNESCO World Heritage site should remain a museum, as a symbol of Christian and Muslim solidarity.
Amid the international reactions over the status of Hagia Sophia, Ankara says that the issue is a domestic affair.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said last week that accusations being made against Turkey regarding the Hagia Sophia directly target the country’s sovereignty.
Please click to read our informative text prepared pursuant to the Law on the Protection of Personal Data No. 6698 and to get information about the cookies used on our website in accordance with the relevant legislation.
6698 sayılı Kişisel Verilerin Korunması Kanunu uyarınca hazırlanmış aydınlatma metnimizi okumak ve sitemizde ilgili mevzuata uygun olarak kullanılan çerezlerle ilgili bilgi almak için lütfen tıklayınız.