ATHENS — "The issue of Hagia Sophia and the Monastery of Chora is on the agenda of all our contacts," Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias said on Friday during his address to the 4th Panhellenic Conference on the Digitalization of Cultural Heritage.
Dendias noted that the preservation and promotion of its cultural heritage is of great importance for Greece, while noting that "the monuments of Greek culture are scattered in various countries, in the Mediterranean, in the Middle East, but also in the depths of Asia."
"Unfortunately, this legacy is under constant threat," he said, "Including, of course, from countries like Turkey, which is violating fundamental UNESCO rules and turning monuments, such as Hagia Sophia and the Monastery of Chora, into mosques."
The foreign minister pointed out that the goal is "to make every effort to protect this heritage" and "in this context we have talked with various international organisations, starting with UNESCO. At the same time, we raise this issue, both bilaterally and multilaterally."
Dendias underlined that "we have an obligation to highlight our cultural heritage, including through its promotion to the largest possible audience," and digital technology is a vehicle for this effort.
UNESCO has issued guidelines for the implementation of principles and rules in the digital environment.
"It is necessary and at the same time useful for Greece to fully and dynamically enter the era of 'digital culture'", he noted, adding that "responding to the new reality, the foreign ministry, from the first moment, showed readiness to use the opportunities created by new means of digitalisation" and referred to the organisation of numerous online events during the pandemic.
"This effort should continue unabated, in every direction," Dendias stressed and concluded: "I am sure that the exchange of views and the emergence of actions, will contribute to making Greece a reference point in this area."