The issue of converting Hagia Sophia into a mosque has deeply touched Greeks. A nationwide poll conducted by Vergina Television found that 70% of Greeks believe the conversion of Hagia Sophia into a mosque is a blow to their religious sentiment and 80% believe that Christianity as a whole should be concerned.
The vast majority of citizens (77%) disapprove of Russia’s stance on the issue, while 87% are disappointed with the EU’s stance, for which 77% believe that they will not approve the sanctions requested by Greece.
At the same time, 53% of respondents believe that the government should have done more as opposed to 40% of citizens who believe that the government has done and is doing what it can on the issue.
A significant percentage of citizens (68%) believe that financial sanctions are more painful for Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, while 28% believe that “nothing stops him.” At the same time, 78% of respondents prefer to resolve the issue through international alliances.
When asked about the proposal to turn the Kemal Museum in Thessaloniki into a Greek Genocide Memorial Museum, 55% disagree with such a development, with 40% agreeing with such a choice.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan signed the decree last Friday, allowing the operation of Hagia Sophia as a “functioning mosque”, according to which the country’s General Directorate of Religious Affairs would take control of the building.
Erdoğan also announced that Hagia Sophia mosque will be open for prayer on July 24.
It is recalled that Turkish newspaper Hurriyet reported that Hagia Sophia will be open for prayer but also for tourists who want to visit it. They said that icons and mosaics will be covered with special technology and lighting.
The decision sparked criticism from around the world.
Videos broadcasted by Turkish Media show municipal officials taking down all signs of the Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism that identified Hagia Sophia as a museum. The video can be seen here.