Speaking on national television TGRT HABER yesterday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip spoke of Hagia Sophia, one of the most important and historic churches of Orthodoxy, saying, “After the election, entry to Hagia Sophia may be free of charge. We can open Hagia Sophia, not as a museum, but as a mosque.”

Erdogan went on to say that Hagia Sophia currently makes for bad tourism in Turkey, “Like the Sultanahmet mosque, where tourists come and do not pay, we can do the same with Hagia Sophia, tourists should not pay,” Erdogan said.

The statement has been slammed by Greece, especially considering it was made on the eve of the celebration marking the 198th anniversary of the outbreak of the Greek Revolution in 1821.

Many claim Erdogan is trying to gain the votes of ultra-nationalists of Turkey, as elections are coming up this week.