Turkey and Greece exchange harsh words over Hagia Sophia prayers

AP photograph

ISTANBUL: Turkey and Greece exchanged harsh phrases on Saturday over the conversion of Istanbul‘s Hagia Sophia right into a mosque, an afternoon after Islamic prayers have been held on the historical website for the primary time in 9 many years.
President Tayyip Erdogan, who attended Friday’s rite that sealed his ambition to revive Muslim worship at Hagia Sophia, didn’t identify Greece however mentioned critics of the transfer have been merely in opposition to Muslims and Turkey.
Greek grievance of the transfer has been particularly scathing, underlining disturbing ties between Greece and Turkey. Hagia Sophia was once up to now a museum and maximum Greeks view it as central to their Orthodox Christian faith: church bells tolled in mourning throughout Greece on Friday.
“We see that the objectives of the ones international locations who’ve made such a lot noise in fresh days aren’t Hagia Sophia or the jap Mediterranean,” Erdogan mentioned in a televised speech.
“(Their objectives) are the presence itself of the Turkish country and Muslims on this area,” he mentioned.
In a remark previous on Saturday, the Turkish overseas ministry spokesman mentioned “Greece confirmed as soon as once more its enmity in opposition to Islam and Turkey with the excuse of reacting to Hagia Sophia Mosque being opened to prayers”.
He strongly condemned antagonistic statements through the Greek executive and parliament contributors and Turkish flag-burning within the Greek town of Thessaloniki.
The Greek overseas ministry replied with its personal remark, pronouncing “the global neighborhood of the 21st century is surprised to look at the spiritual and nationalist enthusiast ramblings of these days’s Turkey.”
On Friday, Greek Top Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis known as Turkey a “troublemaker”, and the conversion of the website an “affront to civilisation of the 21st century”.
Greece and Turkey disagree on a variety of problems from airspace to maritime zones within the jap Mediterranean and ethnically break up Cyprus.