The Greek foreign ministry slammed Turkey for scheduling Muslim prayer readings during the Ramadan holiday inside Hagia Sophia, currently a United Nations World Heritage site and a museum but once the largest Orthodox Christian Church in the world for almost 1,000 years.
In a statement to the media, the foreign ministry stated:
“We condemn as regressive the Turkish authorities’ announcement of the scheduling of a Koran reading in Hagia Sophia in Istanbul, on the occasion of Ramadan. Obsessions, verging on bigotry, with Muslim rituals in a monument of world cultural heritage are incomprehensible and reveal a lack of respect for and connection with reality.”
In a direct reference to Turkish President Recep Erdogan’s continued abandonment of the country’s secular traditions as established by Kemal Ataturk, the nation’s founder, the Greek foreign ministry’s release continued:
“Moreover, such actions are not compatible with modern, democratic and secular societies.”
The prayers began on Monday June 6 and are being broadcast on Turkish television.
Dora Bakoyanni, a former Greek foreign minister, said: “The decision of Turkish authorities to schedule the Koran reading in Hagia Sophia for the next month, has virtually transformed it into a mosque for the first time in 80 years. It is a provocative and incomprehensible act and shows disrespect against Orthodox Christians across the world and is not in line with Turkey’s European course.”
Greek foreign ministry statement is here.