Greece Denounces Vandalism of Hagia Sophia’s Imperial Gate

ATHENS – Damage done to the door of the Imperial Gate of Hagia Sophia in Istanbul, the ancient church converted into a mosque by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, was condemned by Greece’s Foreign Ministry.

“We call on the competent authorities to do what is necessary to bring those responsible to justice as well as to immediately repair the damage to the monument,” the ministry said in a statement, reported Kathimerini.

“We are appalled and saddened by the images of the vandalism against the Imperial Gate of the Hagia Sophia –a World Heritage Site– in Istanbul,” the statement also added, calling for authorities to act.

(Photo by SanatTarihiSTD via Twitter)

The ministry also expressed its “disgust and sadness” following the report from the Turkish Art History Union which posted on Twitter a photograph of damage done to the 15th-Century door.

The tweet added that the head of security on duty at the UNESCO World Heritage Site said: “Don’t worry, this can be fixed,” with no report who may have done it or why although it was said discovered after a special prayer during the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan.

The Imperial Gate is the main entrance to what was the most important church in the Byzantine Empire and was originally exclusively used by the Emperor and that according to tradition the doors wer made with oak from Noah’s Ark.

The General Directorate of Islamic Endowment said it has begun an investigation into the vandalism and to find who did it, said the Greek City Times in Sydney, Australia.

The General-Secretary of the Metropolitan Municipality of Istanbul, Mahir Polat, requested the intervention of the Prosecutor, the report said and he added on Twitter: “The person or persons who caused the disaster should be identified by the cameras. The issue must reach the Prosecutor’s Office, according to article 65 of Law 2863, since the damages concern a historic building of the 1st degree and were caused intentionally.”



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WASHINGOTN - The full text of Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis’ speech to the Joint Session of the US Congress is as follows: Madam Speaker, Madam Vice President, Honorable Members of the United States Congress, Ladies and Gentlemen, There is no greater honor for the elected leader of the people who created democracy than to address the elected representatives of the people who founded their country on the Greek model and have promoted and defended democratic values ever since.

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