Greek Community of SA condemns Turkey’s decision to convert Hagia Sophia into mosque

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The Greek Orthodox Community of South Australia (GOCSA) strongly denounces Turkey’s decision to convert the World Heritage monument of Hagia Sophia into a mosque.

GOCSA President Bill Gonis says, like many countries and numerous organisations we too urge Erdogan to reverse this disrespectful decision and restore Hagia Sophia’s remarkable legacy as a museum for people of all faiths and cultures to visit.

Internationally we should be outraged by Erdogan’s decision to take Hagia Sophia, part of our common world heritage and use it as a political tool that divides.  Hagia Sophia is a focal point of both the Christian Byzantine and Muslim Ottoman empires and one of the most visited monuments in Turkey.

GOCSA fully supports UNESCO’s calls on the Turkish authorities to open a dialog without delay in order to avoid a step back from the universal value of this exceptional heritage whose preservation will be reviewed by the World Heritage Committee in its next session. 

Hagia Sophia remains the symbolic centre of the Greek Orthodox faith, even almost six centuries after its fall to the Ottomans and is the eastern heart of Christianity. The Hagia Sophia is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that was at the core of both the Christian Byzantine and Muslim Ottoman empires. Once again this is all about domestic politics, in order to pacify and keep together the eroding voter base.

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