Sunday, July 14 2024

Interparliamentary assembly joins voice to calls over Hagia Sophia status

The Interparliamentary Assembly on Orthodoxy (IAO) – a body of delegations from countries with a strong Orthodox presence – has added its voice to growing calls urging Turkey to abandon plans to reconvert the museum of Hagia Sophia into a mosque.

“Any change in its status as a museum would serve against any prospect of cooperation, is the complete opposite of what people all over the world need in terms of their problems, and reduces to zero any effort of a cross-religious contribution to their resolution,” the IAO said in a statement released on Thursday.

The IAO comprised parliamentary delegations in Albania, Armenia, Belarus, Bulgaria, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, Georgia, Greece, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Poland, Romania, the Federation of Russia, Serbia, Montenegro, Slovakia and Ukraine, as well groups of MPs from Australia, Asia, Africa and the USA.

Turkey’s plans to reconvert the UNESCO World Heritage site “stirs feeling of surprise and frustration in all persons of goodwill, all believers who try with their actions and prayers to maintain and strengthen understanding between the world’s major religions,” the IAO said.