UNESCO criticizes Ankara over conversion of Hagia Sophia, Chora Monastery


A United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) committee has expressed its “deepest regret” for the lack of dialogue and information on Turkey’s intentions to change the character of Hagia Sophia and the Monastery of Chora, despite repeated calls to Turkey to comply with the organization’s guidelines, diplomatic sources said on Friday. 

The decision was adopted during the 44th session of the World Heritage Committee. 

It also expresses its “intense concern” about the implications of these changes for the universal character of the two monuments and calls on Turkey to announce its intentions and enter into a dialogue before deciding on any other radical change concerning the two monuments.

Finally, the decision calls on Turkey to submit to the World Heritage Center an updated report on the conservation of the two monuments by February 1, 2022, in order to discuss the issue at the next meeting.