ANKARA – A Turkish disc jockey who spun tunes and grooved to the music as dancers bopped to a disco beat at the former Orthodox Christian Sumela monastery in Turkey said it was done to show off the monument, a candidate for UNESCO’s list of world heritage sites.
The electronic music concert upset Greek officials and Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew who sent a letter of protest Turkey’s Culture and Tourism Minister Mehmet Nuri Ersoy, complaining of sacrilege.
But the DJ, Ahmet Senterzi, defended the performance and said that,
“Every reasonable measure was taken to protect the site. We wanted to promote Sumela monastery from a different perspective and with the energy of music,” but not explaining how disco jibed with religion.
Greek President Katerina Sakellaropoulou also denounced what she called the “desecration” of the monastery, which was turned into a museum by Turkey and she called it a place of arte and memory and national symbols.
The Panagia Sumela icon is one “that Hellenism, especially Pontic Hellenism, considers an integral part of its identity, as it depicts the Mother of God, their guide and protector in the painful experience of uprooting and refugeedom,” she said, reported the state-run Athens-Macedonia News Agency AMNA.
There was also harsh reaction from the Greek Foreign Ministry and Greek and Cypriot Members of the European Parliament from the European People’s Party but none from Turkey yet.