A war of words existed between Turkey and Greece over the possible conversion of Hagia Sophia one of Istanbul's most stunning landmarks, into a mosque. The feud over the 1,476-year-old UNESCO World Heritage Sitee is the latest to erupt between the two neighbours over religion. Greece reacted furiously to remarks by Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Ar?nç that he hoped to change the status of Hagia Sophia, which is now a museum
Hagia Sophia, which dates back to 537, was a church for centuries… and the seat of the Patriarchate of Constantinople… before the Ottoman conquerors converted it to a mosque in 1453.
The Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement, “Recurrent statements made by high-ranking Turkish officials about converting Byzantine (sic) Christian churches into mosques offend the religious feeling of millions of Christians”. However, on Wednesday, Turkey bluntly retorted, “We have nothing to learn” from Greece about freedom of religion. The Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement, “Greece’s spiteful treatment of Ottoman-era cultural artefacts and places of worship is well-known by all”.