KAPA Research conducted large-scale research on Greek-Turkish issues. The research analyses the relations between Greece and Turkey and the way the coronavirus has affected the two countries. In addition, the public opinion about the conversion of Hagia Sophia into a mosque could not be omitted from the research.
What do Greeks and Turks believe about the conversion of Hagia Sophia into a mosque? To the question “Which of the two views do you agree with the most on the issue of the Hagia Sophia in Constantinople?”, the vast majority (86%) of Greeks answered that Turkey should keep Hagia Sophia as a museum. It is noteworthy, however, that 45% of the population in Turkey also believe that the historic church should not be converted into a mosque.
The main conclusions of the research are the following:
The majority in Turkish society does not agree with the decision of the conversion of Hagia Sophia into a mosque. In fact, the public opinion in Constantinople (unlike the rest of Turkey) agrees on the preservation of Hagia Sophia as a museum and as a World Heritage Site.
Two-thirds of Turkish public opinion prefer to engage in dialogue to resolve transnational disputes in the region and oppose the use of military means even in the case of supposedly fair demands.
On the contrary, Greek public opinion considers Turkish political movements as offensive and aggressive (the Hagia Sophia issue, the drilling operation in the Aegean Sea and in Cypriot waters, the presence of the navy). In general, they consider Turkey as a threat to Greece’s painstaking effort to recover from the ten-year economic crisis.
Finally, it is interesting that Angela Merkel is the most popular foreign leader in Turkey (51% positive opinions vs 24% in Greece), while in Greece the most popular leader is Emanuel Macron (76% vs 11% in Turkey). It is also noteworthy that Donald Trump is less popular in both countries, which are two key NATO members in the region.