PM Mitsotakis speaks with UNESCO director about damage of Hagia Sophia’s Imperial Gate

Imperial Gate Agia Sophia

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis spoke with UNESCO Director General Audrey Azoulay on Thursday over the vandalism on the Imperial Gate of the historic Byzantine church of Hagia Sophia in Istanbul.

During the call, Mitsotakis expressed his sadness and abhorrence over the damage to the door of the UNESCO World Heritage site. The 15th-century door was used by the Byzantine emperors entering the renowned Greek Orthodox cathedral. The Greek premier said that actions that show disrespect to the monument’s history endanger it and its ecumenical nature, a statement from the prime minister’s office said.

Azoulay reiterated the organization’s concerns over the repercussions of Turkish government’s decision in 2020 to turn the church, then a museum, into a mosque and said she will request explanations by the authorities.