Greek President Katerina Sakellaropoulou has called for the condemnation of Turkey’s decision to convert the former Orthodox Christian cathedral of Hagia Sophia into a mosque in a letter to the 14 non-executive presidents of European Union member-states and members of the Arraiolos Group – a political forum for the heads of state of parliamentary republics and also some semi-presidential republics.
Citing the notions of a common European identity, common values and a common vision for the future of Europe, Sakellaropoulou stressed to the 14 leaders that Hagia Sophia is an emblematic monument and an integral part of the common European heritage.
It is, she said, a unique combination of art and faith and, as such, has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage site.
She decried the decision by the Turkish leadership to turn it into a symbol of conquest, intolerance, exclusion and suspicion, instead of maintaining it as a symbol of tolerance, peaceful coexistence and dialogue between different cultures and religions.
“It is our duty to raise our voice to condemn the Turkish decision. We must not stop calling on Turkey to reconsider and revoke this decision, while respecting the exceptional universal value of this unique architectural masterpiece.”