Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis on Friday night denounced Turkey's decision to reconvert Hagia Sophia into a mosque, saying it was an affront to the monument's global significance and that the move would not only adversely impact Turkey’s relations with Greece but also with the EU, UNESCO and the global community.
"Greece categorically condemns Turkey's decision to convert Hagia Sophia to a mosque," Mitsotakis said, noting that the move, which comes 85 years after its transformation into a museum, "is an affront to its ecumenical character."
The decision, Mitsotakis said, will not only influence Turkey's relations with Greece but also with the EU, UNESCO and the world community.
It is "regretful," he added that Turkey's leadership, which worked for the United Nations] Alliance of Civilizations in 2005, "is now choosing to move in the opposite direction."
Mitsotakis' full statement in English:
*Statement by the Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis*
Greece categorically condemns Turkey's decision to convert Hagia Sophia to a mosque. This decision, taken 85 years after Hagia Sophia was declared a museum, is an affront to its ecumenical character. Furthermore, it is a decision that offends all those who recognize Hagia Sophia as an indispensable part of world cultural heritage. This decision clearly affects not only Turkey's relations with Greece but also its relations with the European Union, UNESCO, and the world community as a whole. It is a truly regretful development that the Turkish leadership, after working for the Alliance of Civilizations in 2005, has now taken the decision to reverse course.