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Politics

Turkey Turning Another Historic Greek Church into Mosque

After converting the revered ancient church of Aghia Sophia in Constantinople into a mosque – ignoring international criticism – Turkey has moved to do it again, to the Byzantine Greek Orthodox Church of the Holy Saviour in Chora.

While President Recep Tayyip Erdogan issued the order for Aghia Sophia and the country's highest court deferred to him, indicating he is the law there, a Presidential decree is being use for the Chora church, said Kathimerini.

The change in its status was passed in December 2019 but the decision of the State Council of Turkey had not been implemented until now, with no initial reports of any responses.

Chora, which had been turned into the Kariye Museum after WWII and was then extensively restored, is covered with some of the finest Byzantine mosaics and frescoes that likely will be covered over for Muslim prayers as were those in Aghia Sophia.

Originally built in the 4th century, the church was comprehensively rebuilt around 1077-81 and again after a partial collapse following an earthquake early in the 12th century and, like Aghia Sophia, is a world UNESCO heritage site.

Greek FM on Turkey's decision to turn Monastery of Chora into mosque

The Greek Foreign Ministry in an announcement on Friday characterised the Turkish authorities’ decision to turn the Monastery of Chora into a mosque another provocation against the religious people everywhere in the world and of the international community that respects the monuments of the human civilisation".

"After Hagia Sophia and despite the international reaction is now brutally insulted the character of another monument of UNESCO's cultural heritage within the Turkish territory" said the announcement".

It also added that "today's decision of the Turkish authorities exposes again Turkey to the international community. It is totally condemnable".

The Greek Foreign Ministry called on Turkey to return to the 21st century of mutual respect, dialogue and understanding between civilisations".

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