Ankara says Hagia Sophia conversion is ‘within Turkish sovereign rights’

Ankara says Hagia Sophia conversion is ‘within Turkish sovereign rights’

Turkey reiterated that the country has the right to change the status of Hagia Sophia, adding that the UNESCO World Heritage monument will remain open to visitors.

“We would once again like to stress that it is a property of Turkey and any kind of power disposition regarding Hagia Sophia including its change of status is a matter within Turkish sovereign rights that no one can interfere with,” Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman Hami Aksoy said in a statement on Monday.

Aksoy was responding to the 27 EU foreign ministers who condemned Ankara’s move and called for a reconsideration of the decision to reconvert the monument into a mosque.

The spokesman also responded to EU criticism about violating Cyprus’ sovereignty in the Mediterranean, saying that Turkey wants the “establishment of a cooperation mechanism between the two peoples on the island on hydrocarbon resources including equitable sharing, resumption of dialogue channels with Turkey and the creation of an atmosphere of dialogue and cooperation in the region without any preconditions.”

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