After Hagia Sophia, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan turned another World Heritage Site, the ancient Church of Chora (“Church of the Holy Savior in Chora”) in Constantinople (Turkish: İstanbul), into a mosque.
The Church of Chora was converted into a mosque by the Ottomans, and was turned into a museum in 1958, but last year the Turkish Supreme Court ruled that it should be converted into a mosque, which had not been implemented until today.
According to SKAI, on announcement made by the Turkish government on Friday morning will be implemented immediately, and the unique mosaics will be covered.
The ancient Greek Christian Church in Constantinople was converted by the Ottomans into a mosque in the 16th century. It has been operating as a museum since 1958. The church was built close to the Theodosian walls.
The current decision of the Turkish authorities to convert the Church of Chora into a mosque is another challenge to the detriment of religious people everywhere and the international community that respects the monuments of human civilization.
The Greek Foreign Ministry said that another World Heritage Site was “brutally insulted.”
“Following the Hagia Sophia and despite the international reactions it provoked, the character of another UNESCO World Heritage Site in Turkey is brutally insulted. Despite occasional declarations of respect for the rights of minorities and the multi-religious character of its society, Turkey is violating its international obligations to the World Heritage Sites located in its territory,” the Greek Foreign Ministry statement said.
“Today’s decision by the Turkish authorities once again exposes Turkey to the international community. It is absolutely reprehensible. We call on this country to keep pace with international developments in the field of protection of world cultural heritage. We call on her to return to the 21st century, of mutual respect, dialogue and understanding between cultures,” the statement added.
Nabila Massrali, the spokesperson for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy of the EU, also commented on the conversion.
“We are recording the decision to convert the Church of Chora, which functioned as a museum since 1945, into a mosque and to open it for worship. Like Hagia Sophia, Chora is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. As a member of the Alliance of Cultures, Turkey is committed to interfaith and intercultural dialogue and the promotion of tolerance and coexistence,” she said.