Strong concern about the consequences of the conversion of Hagia Sophia and the Chora Church into mosques due to the effects of changes in the ecumenical character of the monuments was expressed at the 44th Session of the UNESCO Commission.
According to diplomatic sources, the decision satisfies Greece.
The decision reflects the Commission’s deepest regret for the lack of dialogue and relevant information on Turkey’s intentions to change the character of Hagia Sophia and Chora Church despite repeated calls for Turkey to comply with UNESCO directives.
It also expresses its strong concern about the consequences that these changes will have on the ecumenical character of the two monuments and calls on Turkey to announce its intentions to enter into a dialogue before deciding on any other radical changes.
What they are asking from Turkey
Finally, the decision requires Turkey to submit to the World Heritage Center, by February 1, 2022, an updated report on the maintenance of Hagia Sophia and Chora Church in order to discuss the issue at the next Commission meeting.
It is noted that Greece participates as an observer in this committee, in which 21 member states participate.
Greece has applied to become a member state.
In this context, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in close coordination with the Ministry of Culture and Sports closely coordinated with member states of the Commission to achieve positivity for Greece’s membership and counter Turkey’s UNESCO violations.
Egypt played a decisive role in Greece’s efforts, the same sources noted.
Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias had discussed the issue at length with his Egyptian counterpart Sameh Shoukry and other ministers of friendly countries to Greece.
READ MORE: Hagia Sophia – Then, Now, Always.