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‘Regressive bigotry’: Athens outraged as Ankara launches Koran readings at Hagia Sophia


RT, Published time: 7 Jun, 2016 22:37

 

Turkey  Women take selfie photographs with Hagia Sophia in the background in Istanbul

Women take selfie photographs with Hagia Sophia in the background in Istanbul, Turkey © Murad Sezer / Reuters

Turkish authorities will allow Koran readings at Istanbul’s Hagia Sophia, a former Christian church and mosque which now is a secular museum. Greece slammed the move, with some fearing that Erdogan’s government is taking steps to turn the site back into a mosque.

Verses from the Islamic sacred book will be read at the Byzantine masterpiece daily during the holy Muslim month of Ramadan. The readings which started this Monday will also be broadcast live on Turkish state religious channel TRT Diyanet.

The Greek Foreign Ministry has officially condemned the initiative, calling it “regressive” and a “bigotry.”

“Muslim rituals at the [UNESCO] World Heritage site are incomprehensible, demonstrate disrespect and show lack of contact with reality,” the ministry statement said. Athens also added that “such actions are not compatible with modern, democratic and secular societies.”

Ruptly video screenshot Thousands of Muslims demand reopening Hagia Sophia as mosque (VIDEO)

Greece’s former minister of foreign affairs and former mayor of Athens, Dora Bakoyannis said that the new Koran readings at Hagia Sophia have “virtually transformed it into a mosque for the first time in 80 years.”

In a joint statement with another chief member of Greece’s largest conservative opposition party, New Democracy, the politician said that Ankara’s move is “provocative” and “shows disrespect against Orthodox Christians across the world and is not in line with Turkey’s European course.”

Last week, a deputy for Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), Samil Tayyar, suggested that the site should be open for Muslim worship as a response to Ankara’s western partners’ recent actions which the government regards as unsupportive. In a widely shared and liked post on Twitter, the Turkish MP said: “Since the United States are siding with the PKK [Kurdistan Workers’ Party], and Germany has clung to the [Armenian] genocide lie, friendship has shifted. It’s our turn – [Hagia] Sopia should be open for worship.”

Madem; ABD, PKK ve Paraleli sahiplendi. Almanya, soykırım yalanına sarıldı. Dostluk rafa kaldırıldı. Sıra bizde; Ayasofya ibadete açılmalı.
— Şamil Tayyar (@samiltayyar27) June 2, 2016

Supporters of a secular Turkey, as well as Orthodox Christians in the world have long feared that Hagia Sophia, which was converted into a museum in 1935 during the reign of progressive Mustafa Ataturk, could be transformed back into a mosque under President Erdogan. A number of Erdogan’s supporters within the ruling AKP party have openly suggested the World Heritage site should be given back entirely to Islamic worshipers.

 

 

 

 

 

4 thoughts on “‘Regressive bigotry’: Athens outraged as Ankara launches Koran readings at Hagia Sophia

  1. Muslims continue to add to the existing thousands of mosques already in Europe and Greece expresses concern and outrage about the Sophia Hagia Sophia in Turkey….in Istanbul (formerly Constantinople, a capital of a Western empire conquered and effaced by hordes of Muslims) ?

    “Athens also added that ‘such actions are not compatible with modern, democratic and secular societies.’ ” – How many Greeks, how many Europeans in other EU countries, will it take to form a consensus that Islam is not a “religion of peace.” Only a handful, the handful that will exist a short time before the Muslims complete the genocide of Europeans.

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