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Hagia Sophia: Pro-Erdoğan media accuses Christian pilgrims of vandalism

Pro-Erdoğan media accused Christian pilgrims of being responsible for new images of shame that show vandalism inside Hagia Sophia.

The photos, which show two women taking pieces from the wall of the monument and placing them in bags, caused a sensation and reopened the discussion about security measures after the re-conversion of Hagia Sophia into a mosque two years ago.

“It turns out that the visitors who destroyed the marbles of the Hagia Sophia were Christian tourists” is the title of a post by Yeni Şafak, which seeks to divert the main topic of discussion that has arisen – the security measures and protection of the world’s leading of UNESCO.

The newspaper claims that the women in the photo, wearing headscarves, were “Christian tourists” who scraped the marble of the monument, in order to take pieces as a “blessing”.

To confirm this theory, the article cites a comment by Turkish architect Seda Özen Bilgili on her Twitter, according to which she said: “Foreign (Orthodox) visitors, who consider the wall sacred, remove it. In the past, tourists used to collect tiles as souvenirs.”

Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew also took a stand on the ongoing vandalism in Hagia Sophia.

“What we have been reading lately in the Turkish newspapers is not pleasant for the maintenance, for the cleanliness,” he said.

“There are complaints made by Turkish journalists.

“I repeat that we would prefer Hagia Sophia to be an open museum for the whole world and not just a mosque for Muslims.”

However, the reactions on the Turkish social networks continue for the new damages, which seems to have been left to its fate by local authorities.

A recent Twitter post says: “Hagia Sophia, built 1485 years ago, was perfectly preserved until it was turned into a mosque.”

All this, after the recent statements of the president of the Association of Art History, Şerif Yaşar, who warned that: “unless measures are taken for Hagia Sophia as soon as possible and there is no restoration, the historic building will not last until 2050”.

Archaeologist and photographer Ömer Faruk Yavaşçay, who said there should be a ticket to enter Hagia Sophia, as there are people sleeping for hours inside the monument.

He said people who sleep for hours in the site, also enter with their suitcases.

Since admission is free, many people use the beautiful Hagia Sophia as a place to rest , sleep or wait before traveling.

“It’s a very bad image, unfortunately,” he said.

READ MORE: Turkey relaunches its “Turkaegean” tourism campaign with ancient Greek sites and tsifteteli.

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Copyright Greek CIty Times 2022
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Panagiotis Savvidis

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