The official representative of the Greek government Stelios Petsas called a historical mistake the decision of Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan to make the Hagia Sophia (Hagia Sophia) in Istanbul from a Museum into a mosque, and stated that Greece will spare no effort for the imposition of sanctions against Turkey with the international organizations and the EU.
"Erdogan made a historic mistake, a mistake leading to the gap, which I hope will not be insurmountable," said Paras on Saturday the TV channel Skai.
According to him, Erdogan will give him problems.
"Greece condemns these actions and will make every effort to have consequences for Turkey. Everything is on the table, and the possibility of sanctions not only from Europe but also from international organizations such as UNESCO", – said the representative of the government.
"there is No doubt that we will apply sanctions in some form", – said Paras, explaining that the issue will be raised at the next EU summit. "anyone who violates international law, must understand that for its violation there are painful sanctions", – said the representative office.
"the Theme of [the Cathedral of] St. Sophia, international. The only thing that is indisputable is that such a violation [of international law] and such a serious offense should have an appropriate response. We expect developments in the coming days," he added.
On Friday, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said that Greece strongly condemns the decision of Turkey to turn Hagia Sophia into a mosque. The Prime Minister said this act will affect not only Turkey’s relations with Greece, but also on its relations with the European Union, UNESCO and the world community as a whole. The President of Greece Ekaterini Sakellaropoulo expressed the view that Ankara’s decision to turn the Hagia Sophia, the symbol of Orthodoxy and Christendom, into a mosque challenges the historical memory and undermines the values of the dialogue of religions. Foreign Minister of Greece Nikos Dendias said the decision about turning the Cathedral into a mosque as a provocation. In turn, Minister of culture and sports of Greece Lena Mendoni stated that Ankara’s decision is an affront to the entire civilized world. In her opinion, President Erdogan "made a decision about the cultural isolation of Turkey".
The Decision Of Turkey
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan on Friday signed a decree allowing Muslims to perform worship in Hagia Sophia, which now has the status of a mosque. As indicated in the document that the Turkish leader has posted on his Twitter page, "the decision was made to open the mosque Hagia Sophia for worship".
Before that, on Friday, the Turkish Council of State reversed the decision of the government in 1934 on the award of the Cathedral Hagia Sophia Museum status.
Saint Sophia Cathedral in Istanbul is a monument of Byzantine architecture, which was erected in 532-537 on the orders of Emperor Justinian. After the fall of the Byzantine Empire in 1453, the Cathedral was converted into a mosque.
In 1935, according to the decree of the government of Turkey, signed by the founder of the modern Turkish state by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the Cathedral became a Museum, and with frescoes and mosaics were cleaned off their hide layers of plaster. In 1985, the building was included in the world heritage of UNESCO.