Ankara is astonished by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s remarks on the status of Hagia Sophia.
Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hami Aksoy states that the country’s government have taken steps to protect freedom of religion and belief, noting that the Turkish constitution and legislation guarantee these freedoms for all citizens without any discrimination.
Hami Aksoy notes that Hagia Sophia is the property of Turkey like all cultural assets in the country, and that it is an internal affair within Ankara’s sovereign rights.
Read the full announcement by the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs
“We are astonished by the press release issued by the U.S. Department of State on the status of the Hagia Sophia.
Our government took silent revolutionary steps to protect the freedom of religion and belief, which is guaranteed by our constitution and laws, for all our citizens without any discrimination.
In this context, we protect meticulously all cultural properties that we own without any distinction, including Hagia Sophia, within the framework of the tradition of tolerance stemming from our culture and history.
Turkey has been delicately cherishing the historical, cultural and spiritual value of Hagia Sophia since its conquest.
On this occasion, we remind once again a reality that we have to repeat constantly. The Hagia Sophia is the property of Turkey, like all our cultural assets located on our land.
Every kind of power disposition regarding Hagia Sophia is also an issue concerning our internal affairs within Turkey’s sovereignty rights.
Naturally, everyone is free to express their own opinion. However, it oversteps the mark to talk about our sovereignty rights using a language of “warning and imposition”.