American Hellenic Institute (AHI) said a ruling by Turkey’s highest administrative court last November to allow conversion of the Church of the Holy Savior, known as the Chora Church, to a mosque – again – is progressing and could lead to the same being done to the revered Hagia Sophia in Constantinople some day.
AHI said the ruling “denigrates Turkey’s Christian heritage and sets an ominous precedent for the world-famous cathedral church of Hagia Sophia.”
The 1,000-year-old Chora church was converted into the Kariye Mosque in the 16th Century after the Ottomans seized Constantinople, Greece, and Asia Minor. It functioned as a mosque until 1948 and was reopened as a museum in 1958. The Turkish court though said that was unlawful because its rightful use was as a mosque – although it’s a church.
“(The ruling) paves the way for President Erdogan to make good on his threats to convert Hagia Sophia into a mosque,” said Larigakis, according to the Greek newspaper Kathimerini.
Erdogan has threatened to turn Haghia Sophia, which has minarets and is one of the country’s most popular tourist attractions, into a mosque.