Turkish foreign ministry spokesman Hami Aksoy on Saturday called Greece “the spoiled child of Europe” that “must remember what happened to those who disrespected the Turkish flag in the Aegean.”
“Greece showed once again its enmity towards Islam and Turkey with the excuse of reacting to Hagia Sophia Mosque being opened to prayers,” Aksoy said in a written statement.
The Turkish official also condemned the acts of a group of right-wing extremists who burned a Turkish flag in Thessaloniki on Friday. The nationalists had gathered outside the Agia Sofia Church in Thessaloniki and then marched toward the Turkish Consulate while holding signs that read: “For homeland, nation and orthodoxy.”
Protesters were stopped outside the consulate by police and sang the Greek national anthem and shouted slogans.
“Greece must wake up from the dream of Byzantium, from which it has not woken up for 567 years”, said the Turkish foreign ministry representative.
Aksoy also said that some have not learned from history and must remember what happened to those who did not show respect to the Turkish flag in the Aegean.
The statement came a day after Islamic prayers were held at the ancient Hagia Sophia site that turned into a mosque for the first time in nine decades after a decision of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan who attended the prayer alongside his cabinet.
The conversion of the UNESCO World Heritage Site to a mosque has been condemned by most of the Western World and Greece in particular.
The Greek foreign ministry reply
Greece’s foreign ministry replied to its Turkish counterpart, speaking of Turkey’s “religious and nationalist fanaticism.”
“The 21st-century international community is surprised to watch the delusions of religious and nationalist fanaticism in present-day Turkey. They (the delusions) have been condemned and are unworthy of an answer, while they expose internationally those who express and incite them”.