In a letter sent to the 14 non-executive presidents of EU Member States and Arraiolos Group members, the President of the Hellenic Republic calls on them to raise their voices and condemn the Turkish decision to convert an emblematic monument of European history, such as Hagia Sophia, into a mosque.
Referring to the common European identity, common values and their common vision for the future of Europe, Katerina Sakellaropoulou points out that Hagia Sophia is an emblematic monument and an integral part of the common European heritage. It is a unique combination of art and faith and, as such, has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Hagia Sophia, she adds, is protected by the Convention for the protection of the world cultural and natural heritage, adopted by the UNESCO Member States in 1972.
The President of the Hellenic Republic emphasizes that the Turkish leadership, instead of maintaining the Hagia Sophia as a symbol of tolerance, peaceful coexistence and dialogue between different cultures and religions, converts it into a symbol of conquest, intolerance, exclusion and suspicion.
“It is our duty”, concludes Katerina Sakellaropoulou, “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.”
The letter is addressed to the Presidents of Austria, Alexander Van der Bellen, of Bulgaria, Rumen Radev, of Germany Dr. Frank-Walter Steinmeier, of Estonia, Kersti Kaljulaid, of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins, of Italy Sergio, Mattarella, of Croatia, Zoran Milanović, of Latvia, Egils Levits, of Malta, George Vella, of Hungary, János Áder, of Poland, Andrzej Duda, of Portugal, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, of Slovenia, Borut Pahor, and of Finland, Sauli Väinämö Niinistö.