Protests took place across Greece on Friday following Turkey’s decision to reconvert Istanbul’s Hagia Sophia to a mosque. Euro News reports that church bells rang in mourning across Greece and that flags flew at half-mast, yesterday afternoon when Muslim worshippers gathered at the mosque for Friday prayers .
Greek protesters burned Turkish flags outside the Agia Sofia Church in Thessaloniki before marching toward the Turkish Consulate, where they were stopped by security forces. Meanwhile, in Athens, hundreds prayed and sang, holding banners reading “No to new Ottomanism” and condemning “the second capture of Constantinople by the Turks”.
The head of the Church of Greece, Archbishop Ieronymos II, called the opening of the mosque an “ungodly defiling act”, saying it was “a day of mourning for all of Christendom”. Greek prime minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said that opening Hagia Sophia to Muslim worshippers was “not a manifestation of power” but a “sign of weakness”. Greek government spokesman Stelios Petsas said Turkey’s move “will create an unbridgeable gap between Turkey and the Christian world.”
Anadolu Agency, meanwhile, reports that Turkey’s Foreign Ministry has condemned Greek authorities for provoking the public and allowing the Turkish flag to be burned. Spokesperson, Hami Aksoy, said Greece had once again shown it’s hostility toward Islam and Turkey under the pretext of reaction against the reopening of the Hagia Sophia Grand Mosque for worship.
Umm Muhammed Umar