Turkey’s Erdogan Repeats Threats To Turn Hagia Sophia Into Mosque

After five years of construction, Hagia Sophia was built in 537 in Constantinople, the then capital of the Roman Empire and was the largest Christian Cathedral for almost 1,000 years.

The Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan repeated on Friday his intentions to change Hagia Sophia‘s status from Museum to Mosque.

Erdogan has made Hagia Sophia one of the main topics of the political discourse in Turkey ahead of Sunday’s local elections.

In an interview with the Turkish TGRT TV station last week, Erdogan said ”it is not a strange proposal and we might even change its name to Ayasofya Mosque.”

Greece reacted to the provocative statements of the Turkish President on Tuesday, with the country’s Foreign Minister George Katrougalos saying that ”Hagia Sophia is not only a great temple of Christendom — the largest for many centuries — but it also belongs to humanity; it has been recognized by UNESCO as part of our global cultural heritage.”

Hagia Sophia, a Byzantine Christian Cathedral from 537 A.D. until Constantinople’s fall in 1453, is now a museum and is a protected cultural site by UNESCO.