“We condemn the Koran reading and holding of prayers in Hagia Sophia, which was attended by the head of Turkey’s Directorate for Religious Affairs and broadcast by Turkey’s state television channel.
Hagia Sophia is a UNESCO world heritage site. The attempt to convert it into a mosque – through reading of the Koran, holding of prayers, and a number of other actions – is an affront to the international community, which needs to be duly mobilised and to react.
This is a clearly unacceptable challenge to the religious sentiments of Christians everywhere and to all those who honour humanity’s cultural heritage, and it is taking place at a time when the interfaith dialogue should be promoted rather than undermined.
We call on Turkey to conduct itself as a modern and democratic country, to protect the ecumenical nature of Hagia Sophia, and to respect the age-old tradition of this global monument.”