The General Secretary of the Interparliamentary Assembly of Orthodoxy (DSO) presented the damages suffered by the monument after its conversion into a mosque.
“The profane conversion of Hagia Sophia into a mosque is not only an insult to historical truth, it constitutes a direct threat to the monument. Hagia Sophia must be declared a monument in danger” said the Secretary General of the Interparliamentary Assembly of Orthodoxy (DSO), Member of the Hellenic Parliament, Dr. Maximos Charakopoulos after the meeting he had with the representative of the UNESCO Cultural Heritage Center Mrs. Berta de Sancristóbal at its headquarters in Paris.
During the meeting, Maximos Harakopoulos informed the representative of the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Center about the damages the monument is suffering after its conversion into a mosque, which are directly reported by Turkish institutions and mass media.
“I sent the representative of UNESCO a detailed situation with publications describing these disasters. The reaction of the international community to date has not been what was expected and this disheartens the perpetrator and diminishes the prestige of international organizations. Finally, I discussed with the representative of UNESCO the possibility of presenting the Volume published by the Interparliamentary Assembly of Orthodoxy with the 37 emblematic temples dedicated to God’s Sophia, here at the headquarters of the Organization, in Paris, and I informed her, of course, about the international campaign that we have undertaken as an inter-parliamentary institution for the awakening of international public opinion”, he emphasized.
G.G. of the ILO during the meeting with Mrs. Berta de Sancristóbal underlined that “I recently visited Hagia Sophia, and I was really shocked. The narthex of the Temple has been turned into a shoebox. Turkish media reports show the damage suffered by the seven-meter high royal gate. Muslims scrape the walls and eat the smears as a… blessing. The floor marbles are destroyed. Even within Turkey, reactions are recorded not only by archaeologists, but also by the media of a country which is certainly not famous for its freedom of the press. I believe that after these it is imperative to visit the monument to see what the reality is today. If there is not a more substantial response, Turkey will be further humiliated.
Do you know that the Moni of Chora, which is also a recognized UNESCO monument, has become a glass. Hagia Sophia in Trabzon, which since the 1950s had functioned as a museum, was converted into a mosque. Hagia Sophia in Nicaea, a city in which two Ecumenical Councils of Christians have taken place, of the united Christendom of the first millennium, has also been converted into a mosque. That is why we are here today, asking you to look more carefully at this monument which is essentially in danger, because it is in danger of irreparable damage. I hope that our visit here will be an occasion to mobilize UNESCO more”.
The representative of the Center for Cultural Heritage, Mrs. Berta de Sancristóbal, stated that UNESCO attaches particular importance to the monuments of Istanbul, which they monitor very closely, and assured that at the next meeting of the Organization, the issue of Hagia Sophia will be one of the major issues will be set.
During his stay in Paris, Maximos Charakopoulos collaborated at the Greek embassy with the Metropolitan of France, Mr. Dimitrios, and representatives of our diplomatic delegation for the best possible presentation to the French society of the Volume published by the DSO for Hagia Sophia.
The TSO delegation was attended by the advisors Dr. Kostas Mygdalis and Dr. Alexander Fomenko, as well as the Permanent Representative of Greece to UNESCO Ms. Maria Diamantopoulou and the Deputy Permanent Representative Mr. Nikolaos Stergioulas.
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