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GreekReporter.comEuropeGreece Angry over Turkish Deputy PM’s Hagia Sophia Remarks

Greece Angry over Turkish Deputy PM’s Hagia Sophia Remarks

sophia museumThe Greek Foreign Ministry reacted over an eventual converting of Istanbul’s Hagia Sophia Museum into a mosque, following statements from Turkish officials.

The Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç especially expressed his hope to see Hagia Sophia Museum as a mosque, while already calling it the “Hagia Sophia Mosque” when speaking to reporters.

“We currently stand next to the Hagia Sophia Mosque […] we are looking at a sad Hagia Sophia, but hopefully we will see it smiling again soon,” Arınç said in a speech during the opening ceremony of a new Carpet Museum, located adjacent to the ancient Hagia Sophia complex.

However, the Greek Foreign Ministry stated on November 18: “the repeated statements from Turkish officials regarding the conversion of Byzantine Christian churches into mosques are an insult to the religious sensibilities of millions of Christians, and are actions that are anachronistic and incomprehensible from a state that declares it wants to participate as a full member in the European Union, a fundamental principle of which is respect for religious freedom.”

“Byzantine Christian churches are an intrinsic element of world cultural and religious heritage, and they should receive the necessary respect and protection,” stated the Greek Foreign Ministry.

In recent years, a number of campaigns have been done to open it for Muslim prayers, despite that this would be disrespectful to the building’s past as a former Greek Orthodox patriarchal church.

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