The government of Greece has condemned Turkey’s decision to convert yet another iconic building with a rich, Orthodox Christian tradition, into a Mosque.
On Friday, Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced the conversion of the building, located in Istanbul’s Fatih district. Also known as the Church of the Holy Saviour, the structure was constructed as part of a monastery complex in the fourth century during the Byzantine era.
The Greek government condemned Turkey’s decision in a statement from the Greek Foreign Ministry.
Today’s decision by the Turkish authorities to convert the former Church of the Holy Saviour of Chora into a mosque is yet another provocation against religious people around the world and the international community which respects humanity’s cultural monuments.
Following the conversion of Hagia Sophia, and in spite of the international reaction it caused, the nature of yet another UNESCO world heritage site located in Turkey is being flagrantly disrespected. Despite occasional statements regarding its respect for minority rights and religious pluralism in its society, Turkey is violating its obligations with regard to world cultural heritage monuments within its territory.
Today’s decision by the Turkish authorities once again exposes Turkey to the international community.
It is an utterly reprehensible decision.
We call on Turkey to conform with international standards in the field of protection of world cultural heritage.
We call on this country to return to the 21st century – a century of mutual respect, dialogue and of understanding among cultures.
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