Spokesman for the Turkish Foreign Ministry of Foreign Affairs Hami Aksoy responded to the statement made by the Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs that condemned the provocative action of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan regarding the reading of passages from the Quran inside Hagia Sophia.
“Greece continues to make statements that are futile and inefficient every time the Quran is read in Hagia Sophia,” he said in a statement. “The importance of mutual respect is being understood in Europe, and therefore prayers are being heard from the minarets, whereas the only European country that does not have a mosque in its capital was bothered by the fact that the Quran was read in Hagia Sophia. This is a good example so as to better understand the mentality of this country, ” he added.
The spokesman for the Turkish Foreign Ministry accused Athens of the fact that “there was recent memory of the efforts to silence the Muslim call to prayer in Western Thrace, which has been heard for centuries, under the pretext of COVID-19.”
“Turkey has not acted against its global monumental status, nor has it acted contrary to the 1972 UNESCO Convention on the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage,” he said. “Hagia Sophia will remain an important and valuable monument for Turkey and humanity will continue to protect it. We call on Greece to get rid of its complex that has historic causes.”
The Greek Foreign Ministry issued a statement yesterday in which it was stated, “Friday’s reading of passages from the Quran inside Hagia Sophia, a global monument protected by UNESCO as a world heritage site that has functioned as a museum since 1935, is not only an unacceptable attempt to alter the site’s designation as a monument, but also an affront to the religious sentiment of Christians throughout the world.”
He further stated, “This action is an insult to the international community and once again exposes Turkey, which has an obligation to respect both the Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage and UNESCO, of which it is a member. We once again call on Turkey to respect its international obligations and stop putting domestic expediencies ahead of its very privileged role as guardian of a monument as important as Hagia Sophia, which belongs to all of humanity.”
The “show” staged by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan lasted about 1.5 hours and was broadcast live on Turkish television. During the event, passages from the Quran were read in the Hagia Sophia as it was announced by the Turkish president. A model of the Wall of Constantinople was erected outside the Hagia Sophia Museum by the Turkish state television (TRT) in order to represent the Fall of Constantinople on 29 May 1453. The whole country watched on television the wall being collapsed right in front of Hagia Sophia.