Turkey provokes with reading of Quran in Hagia Sophia

22 June 2017
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The reading of the Quran by an Imam in Hagia Sophia in Istanbul (Constantinople) Wednesday night, prompted a strong reaction from the Greek Foreign Ministry, which relapsed a statement labelling the move “an unacceptable provocation to the religious sensitivities of all christians around the globe”. The Muslims are celebrating the revelations of the first verses of the Quran to Mohammad by arch-Angel Gabriel, and the religious ceremony, which was broadcast by Turkish state media, was endorsed by the official Turkish authorities as the head of the Department of Religious Affairs was in attendance during the event. The Greek Foreign Ministry condemned the ceremony in its statement, reminding that the Hagia Sophia had been designated a UNESCO world heritage site, adding that such move insulted the international community, urging it to react accordingly. The statement goes on to call on Turkey to “display behaviour of a modern and democratic country and protect the ecumenical character of Hagia Sophia, respecting the long traditions of the site’s humanism”. Calls to transform the Hagia Sophia into a mosque have been intensifying in Turkey, as the Erdogan government has increasingly shifted towards a pro-Islamic character by the adoption of conservative Islamic policies.

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