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Politics

Petsas: Hagia Sophia Not a Greek-Turkish but Global Issue

ATHENS — "Since last Friday, the entire civilised world, Europe and the West in general, Christians all over the world and, of course, Greece, are faced with the provocation and insult from Turkey and Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan of Hagia Sophia's conversion into a mosque," government spokesperson Stelios Petsas said on Monday during a press briefing.

"It's a historic mistake and the international community must respond. The issue is not Greek-Turkish, but global. We are constantly highlighting this dimension, both before and after Erdogan's decision," said Petsas.

The government spokesperson also stressed that "Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis strongly condemned Turkey's decision, contacted Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, to whom he expressed the full support of Greece, and discussed the issue with Archibishop Ieronymos, while also launching an initiative to communicate and consult with his counterparts. Greece considers it necessary to send a strong message to the neighbouring country that no one can violate international law with impunity and that actions blatantly contrary to international obligations and international law will have specific consequences."

Finally, he noted: "Greece asks the European Union to have a list prepared of very strong measures in the event that Turkey violates our sovereign rights. And Europe must understand that it has an obligation to make decisions to put a stop to Turkish provocation. The issue will be raised today by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Dendias, at the meeting of the EU Foreign Affairs Council."

A meeting under the prime minister was held today to address the coronavirus, in which Health Minister Vassilis Kikilias, Deputy Minister of Civil Protection and Crisis Management Nikos Hardalias and infectious disease specialist Prof. Sotiris Tsiodras participated. "The government is constantly monitoring developments, talking to experts and will take whatever measures are needed," Petsas said.

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