Greek President Katerina Sakellaropoulou on Friday called Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s recent decision to convert the historic Chora former Christian monastery to a mosque “an act of symbolic violence dictated by political arrogance.”
After the conversion of Istanbul’s Hagia Sophia World Heritage Monument to a mosque, this most recent decision “blatantly violates the UNESCO World Heritage Convention and brutally interrupts the long-standing intercultural dialogue between East and West,” she wrote in a post on social media on Friday.
The President said that it is an act of “cultural insecurity and religious intolerance, which condemns a treasure trove of Christian art and cultural nobility to obscurity.”
Erdogan issued a presidential decree on August 21, turning the historic Holy Saviour in Chora, a medieval Byzantine church in western Constantinople that was a museum, into a mosque.
The move follows the July decision to convert Hagia Sophia to a mosque, a move condemned by the international community.
Chora is one of the most splendid examples of Byzantine art, and still preserves mosaics and frescoes. The interior is covered with Bible scenes and portraits of Jesus and the saints dating back to the fourteenth century.