The decision on Friday by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe’s Culture Committee condemning Turkey’s move to convert Hagia Sophia in Istanbul from a museum into a mosque was hailed by the Greek delegation head, Dora Bakoyannis, as Europe’s response to Turkey’s “systematic violations of democratic principles and values.”
In a Facebook post, Bakoyannis said both Greek and Cypriot delegations have been raising awareness and mobilizing members of the Parliamentary Assembly for months.
“Turkey’s unilateral decision was condemned as unacceptable and incomprehensible, as a divisive move of discrimination contrary to all the principles of the Council,” she said.
Hagia Sophia was built in the 6th century as a Greek Orthodox Christian cathedral and was converted into a mosque after the Ottomans conquered Constantinople, now Istanbul, in 1453. The Turkish government turned it into a museum in 1934.