The Turkish Foreign Ministry said that the position of the Foreign Ministry of Greece on the issue of reading the Koran, Azan and making prayers on the alleged Night of Predestination in the Aya Sophia Cathedral (Hagia Sophia) in Istanbul causes perplexity among Ankara.
Earlier, the Greek Foreign Ministry condemned the fact of reading the Koran and Azan in Aya Sofia. In particular, Athens said: “Attempting to turn it (the Hagia Sophia Cathedral) into a mosque, reading the Koran there, performing prayers and other actions, offends the entire international community, which should respond to this.”
However, Ankara did not go unanswered and made a statement.
“Instead of congratulating the people of Turkey on the holy month of Ramadan and the Night of Predestination, the Greek Foreign Ministry chose to distort the fact of reading the Quran and raising prayers in Aya Sofia. All this demonstrates the attitude of Athens towards religious freedom, ”the Turkish Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
“The Greek authorities are putting increasing pressure on the Turkish community of the country, including in the sphere of religious freedoms. Criminal proceedings are initiated against a number of muftis. In the area of Thessaloniki there is not a single mosque. At the same time, this year the authorities refused to believers to conduct a holiday prayer in one of the historic mosques in the region, ”the statement says.
“Considering the fact that there is not even one operating mosque in Athens, it is interesting to understand what the Greek authorities mean by the term“ inter-religious dialogue ”. We urge the Greek authorities to take steps to become a modern state that respects democracy and freedom of religion, ”underscore in Ankara.