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Ministry of Foreign Affairs announcement on the conversion of Hagia Sophia into a mosque

Friday, 24 July 2020

Altering the nature of important cultural monuments indisputably deals a blow to the cultural heritage of humanity.

This alteration constitutes a violation of Turkey’s obligations that derive from the UNESCO Convention of 1972, and casts a dark shadow on its image.

The use of monuments of such radiance and powerful symbolism must transcend any expediencies and should function in a way that unites and reconciles the global community.

Changing the use of the monument, beyond the symbolism of such a move, seriously jeopardises the integrity of the structure, the mosaics and other works of art in its interior.

We will work to raise and maintain awareness in the global community, because the conversion of Hagia Sophia – a UNESCO world heritage site – into a mosque is an issue that concerns all of humanity.

At a time when we need convergence and steps towards unity, moves that foment religious and cultural division, widening rather than bridging rifts, do not contribute to understanding and closer relations among peoples.

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