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Greek Foreign Ministry Deplores Use of Hagia Sophia Monument

ATHENS – The Greek Foreign Affairs Ministry deplored the use of Hagia Sophia, a UNESCO World Heritage site, as a venue for the recitation of Quranic verses on Saturday, the anniversary of the Fall of Constantinople.

In a statement, the ministry said, "Today’s reading of passages from the Quran inside Hagia Sophia, a global monument protected by UNESCO as a world heritage site that has functioned as a museum since 1935, is not only an unacceptable attempt to alter the site’s designation as monument, but also an affront to the religious sentiment of Christians throughout the world. This action is an insult to the international community and once again exposes Turkey, which has an obligation to respect both the Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage and UNESCO, of which it is a member. We once again call on Turkey to respect its international obligations and stop putting domestic expediencies ahead of its very privileged role as guardian of a monument as important as Hagia Sophia, which belongs to all of humanity."

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