Tsipras on Hagia Sophia: Conversion into a mosque cannot wipe out its history and symbolism

The conversion of Hagia Sophia into a mosque cannot “distort or wipe out its history and its ecumenical symbolism,” SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras said on Friday, the day the change of status for the World Heritage monument was inaugurated by the Turkish government.

Tsipras said he had had the honor of touring the monument in Istanbul as a visiting Greek prime minister a year and a half ago.

“The conversion of Hagia Sophia museum into a temple, on the anniversary of the Treaty of Lausanne signing, marks for Turkey another step away from universal values that serve as underpinnings for peace and mutual respect in our region, while it undermines inter-religious dialogue in a fundamental way,” the main opposition leader said.

“No conversion of Hagia Sophia into a mosque, however, can distort or write off its history and its ecumenical symbolism,” he concluded.