“Any change in the museum status does not serve any prospect of cooperation, moves in the exact opposite direction of the problems of citizens around the world, will nullify any effort of interfaith contribution to their resolution, and will obviously also hurt the interconfessional peace,” Inter-Parliamentary Assembly of Orthodoxy said in a statement on the protection of Hagia Sophia as a monument of world heritage.
The Inter-Parliamentary Assembly of Orthodoxy, the international body of parliamentarians from around the world, has issued a statement in defense of Hagia Sophia as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, expressing its respect for the monument’s historicity and trying to prevent its conversion into a mosque.
The statement underlines that: “The sudden and unprovoked debate over the change of status of the historic World Heritage Site, Hagia Sophia, in Constantinople, Turkey, raises feelings of wonder and resentment of any person of good will, any believer, who through his/her actions and prayer tries to maintain and strengthen the understanding between the world’s great religions.”
The Assembly also highlighted that it was no coincidence that the monument, located in the center of Constantinople, was recognized by UNESCO as part of the World Heritage List. It was built about one thousand five hundred years ago, in 537, by Emperor Justinian, and in 1935, after the decision of the founder of the modern Turkish state, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, it was turned into a museum and a place of attraction for all visitors to Constantinople.