A Greek political party has called for the birth home of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk in Thessaloniki to become a museum commemorating the Greek Genocide in the Pontus region on the Black Sea.
The Greek Solution (Ελληνική Λύση) suggested to convert Atatürk's house into a genocide memorial museum.
"No Turkish court can desecrate the over-chronic character of the Hagia Sophia," the party said in a statement just one day before Turkey decided to turn it into a mosque.
"On the contrary, Greece can and must turn Kemal's house into a museum of memory and honour of the victims of the [Greek] Pontian genocide," Greek Solution said.
Although Turks think of Atatürk fondly as the founder of the modern Turkish Republic, Greeks, Armenians and Assyrians remember him as one of the main perpetrators of genocide against Christian minorities in the Ottoman Empire, that led to the systematic extermination of around 3.5 million people. With about a million Greeks exterminated on policies made by Atatürk and his predecessors, more than 1.2 million Greeks were forcibly removed from Turkey in 1923-1924 as a result of the the Treaty of Lausanne, decimating thousands of years of Greek life in Asia Minor, Pontus and Eastern Thrace.
The only thing Turkey’s mad drive to convert Hagia Sophia into a mosque has done, is provide the legitimacy for Greece to turn Atatürk’s birthplace into a Genocide Museum without any condemnation from Turkey, an opinion piece published by Greek City Times several day's before Greek Solution's suggestion said.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his administration have made it more than clear that Greece has no say in the conversion of Hagia Sophia into a mosque, as it undermines Turkish sovereignty.
He has set the rules, and the house of Atatürk, unlike Hagia Sophia, is not a UNESCO heritage listed site. There is no legal bounds to maintain Atatürk’s house and rather it should be changed into a historical accurate dedication to him – a genocidal mass murderer, the opinion piece suggested.
On Friday, Erdoğan also announced that Hagia Sophia mosque will be open for prayer on July 24.
“Hagia Sophia will start functioning as a mosque after 86 years. I hope this decision will benefit all of humanity. “The doors of Hagia Sophia will be open to everyone,” he said.
“Open to all, Muslims and non-Muslims,” he added.