EU: Turkey's decision to change Hagia Sophia's status is regrettable
Hagia Sophia has a strong symbolic, historical and universal value, noted the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell.
The European Union considers the decision of the Turkish authorities to turn the Hagia Sophia Cathedral in Istanbul from a museum into a mosque "regrettable". This was said in a statement issued on Friday, July 10, 2020, by the EU High Representative Josep Borell, reports TASS.
“Hagia Sophia has a strong symbolic, historical and universal value. Turkey has developed a well-established tradition of cultural conservation as well as a recognised tradition of intellectual and cultural openness. The ruling by the Turkish Council of State to overturn one of modern Turkey's landmark decisions and President Erdoğan‘s decision to place the monument under the management of the Religious Affairs Presidency is regrettable,” the agency cites the statement.
Josep Borell also highlighted that “as a founding member of the Alliance of Civilisations, Turkey has committed to the promotion of inter-religious and inter-cultural dialogue and to fostering of tolerance and co-existence”. (Turkey is one of the founders of the UN Alliance of Civilizations, which aims to strengthen international action against extremism through the establishment of inter-ethnic, intercultural and interfaith dialogue and interaction – Ed.).
As reported, July 10, 2020, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan signed a decree changing the status of the Hagia Sophia Cathedral and said that already on July 24 Sophia will open as a mosque for Islamic divine services.