Turkey “has offended the world community, regardless of nationality, past and religious beliefs,” with its decision to turn Hagia Sophia into a mosque, Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias said in an interview on Alpha TV earlier today.
“What Turkey is doing is completely contrary to the legal status that governs the monuments as has been provided for by Unesco,” he said, adding that the biggest trap is that Turkey can trick us into turning the Hagia Sophia issue into a Greek-Turkish dispute.
“We, not as Greeks, but as protectors of the monument, will take action as we have the right, as every person on the planet has the right to enjoy cultural goods in order to protect the monument and to galvanize the world community as much as possible. “In fact, we are defending universal values,” he said, adding that the Republic of Turkey had chosen to designate Hagia Sophia as a World Heritage Site and was committed to the protection of monuments.
Nikos Dendias announced that a meeting would be held with the UNESCO Ambassador for Greece, the Minister of Culture, Lina Mendoni, and other officials at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs next Wednesday in order to identify the country’s next steps regarding the issue of Hagia Sophia as a world cultural heritage monument.