The world Council of churches called on Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to reconsider the decision to convert the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul into a mosque.
As reported the press service of the Council of 11 July, with the corresponding letter to Erdogan asked the interim Secretary-General of the John Sauk.
The head of the organization said that the latest decision of the Turkish authorities has caused the Council grief and anxiety. It “will inevitably create uncertainty, suspicion and mistrust, undermining efforts to unite people of different faiths at the table of dialogue and cooperation,” said the letter.
Hagia Sophia , 1934, when received the status of the Museum was a place of openness, meetings and inspiration for people of all Nations and religions, said Sauk.
The Council fears that this step of Turkey can encourage the ambitions of other groups in other places, “which tend to cancel the existing status quo and promote the recovery of differences between religious communities”.
The Council brings together 350 Christian churches in 110 countries and represents around 500 million believers.
July 10, Erdogan signed a decree that transformed the Hagia Sophia into a functioning mosque. The decision was made shortly after the Turkish state Council (highest administrative court) canceled the decree of Kemal Ataturk from 1934 on the transformation of the Cathedral into a Museum.
The decision on transformation of the Cathedral into the temple may be the reason for its exclusion from the list of world heritage of UNESCO.
A religious ceremony in Hagia Sophia will resume on 24 July, after preparations, promised Erdogan.
USA and Europe condemned Turkey’s decision to change the status of a Cathedral. The decision of the Turkish authorities was taken in disregard for the feelings of believers of religious minorities, as noted in the Commission on freedom of religion in the world.
Hagia Sophia is located in the historical center of Istanbul, Sultanahmet. In 1453, after the capture of Constantinople by the Ottomans converted the Cathedral into a mosque. In 1934 it became a Museum. In 1985, the building was included in the world heritage list of UNESCO.