Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias said it was “dangerous” to consider turning the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul into a mosque a problem of Greek-Turkish relations, and not a world one. In an interview with Skai, Dendias also said that the EU should have a list of “strong” measures against Turkey in case it violates the sovereign rights of Greece.
On Monday, the issue of Turkey will be discussed in Brussels at the Council of Foreign Ministers of the European Union.
“There, Greece will ask the European Union to draw up a list of the strongest possible measures against Turkey in case Turkey violates the sovereign rights of Greece. Sanctions will not concern the problem of Hagia Sophia. There should be an initiative of UNESCO and the UN, and not just Greece”, – the minister said.
“Erdogan does everything intentionally. He even cancels the traditions of his country. He turns away from the international community and its rules”,- he added.
He called the Hagia Sophia problem worldwide.
“The danger is that we consider the issue of Hagia Sophia Greek-Turkish, but it is global. It is a matter of abolishing the rules and disrespect for the world community”, – he said.
Dendias said that the decision on Hagia Sophia refers to a series of provocative actions against Greece and the countries of the region and the fact that Turkey does not show any spirit of cooperation in accordance with international law should not be ignored.
Regarding the protection of the sovereign rights of Greece and their violation, Dendias said that Europe should quickly take a position to prevent them.
“Because if it doesn’t interfere, it will not like what happens. We told Turkey that we are not going to remain inactive”, – Dendias said and added that Greece has a very capable armed forces.
The Turkish State Council – the country’s highest administrative court – on July 10 annulled the decision of 1934 on turning the Hagia Sophia into a museum. Immediately after this, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan announced that he had signed a decree on turning the cathedral into a mosque and beginning Muslim services there.
Hagia Sophia was founded by Christian emperor Justinian and was opened on December 27, 537. The cathedral has been the largest temple in the Christian world for over a thousand years. After the capture of Constantinople by the Ottomans and the fall of the Byzantine Empire in 1453, the cathedral was converted into a mosque, but since 1934 the building, by decree of the founder of the modern Turkish state, Kemal Atatürk, became a museum and was included in the UNESCO World Heritage List.
The decision to make Hagia Sophia a mosque caused a sharp reaction in many countries of the world.Shelling by Ukrainian Armes Forces damaged four houses in a village in the DPR