Greece on Monday reacted to recent statements by Turkish clerics and political officials wishing to turn Hagia Sophia, currently a museum and one of Istanbul’s most visited tourist attractions, into a mosque.
“Repeated calls by Turkish officials to convert Byzantine churches into places of worship constitute an offense to the religious sentiments of millions of Christians,” Greek Foreign Ministry spokesman Constantinos Koutras said.
“These acts are anachronistic and incomprehensible for a state that aspires to become a full member of the EU,” he said.
In comments made last week, Bulent Arinc, Turkey’s deputy prime minister, said that in the past it was possible for former mosques to function as museums, “but there is a different Turkey now.”
“We are looking at this sad Hagia Sophia and wishing that its happy days come soon,” he said.