Minister calls for EU task force for cultural heritage monuments

Culture Minister Panos Panayiotopoulos called on Thursday for the creation of a European Union task force to protect the continent’s cultural heritage, including Hagia Sophia in Istanbul.

“The issue of Hagia Sophia is an international one and the response should be international,” Panayiotopoulos said at a meeting of EU culture ministers in reference to comments by Turkish officials regarding turning the museum and former Christian Orthodox church into a mosque.

He added, “This historic place of worship is a priceless cultural treasure for the whole of humanity.”

Panayiotopoulos also made reference to treasures that may be damaged by natural phenomena such as the floods in the Balkans.