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13 June, 2024
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US criticizes Turkey for conversion of Chora church into mosque

Preserving heritage: US calls on Turkey to respect history

Kathimerini Greece Newsroom

The US Department of State is aware of Turkey’s conversion of another historical Byzantine church into a mosque, and urges the government to “respect” the “diverse histories” of heritage sites that have hosted different religious communities.

“We are aware that the Chora Museum, a World Heritage Site, has been reopened as a mosque, and we refer you to the Turkish government for further details,” a spokesperson for the State Department said in response to the question from the state-run Athens-Macedonian News Agency (AMNA) on Wednesday.

“We encourage the Turkish government to preserve and ensure access to sites and buildings that have hosted different religious communities in a way that respects their diverse histories,” the spokesperson, who was not named, added.

Turkey formally converted the Byzantine-era Church of St. Savior in Chora, known as Kariye in Turkish, into a mosque in 2020, soon after it similarly turned Istanbul’s landmark Haghia Sophia into a Muslim house of prayer.

The site, however, was formally inaugurated as a mosque by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Monday, a day after Greek Orthodox Easter, drawing criticism from Athens and the Church.

Cyprus  |  church  |  Greece

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