Turkey’s Foreign Ministry condemned Saturday that Greek authorities “provoked public and allowed burning of Turkish flag in Thessaloniki” over reopening of the Hagia Sophia Mosque for worship in Istanbul.
“We strongly condemn that the Greek government and parliament members provoked public through their hostile statements and openly allowed the burning of our glorious flag in Thessaloniki,” Hami Aksoy, the Foreign Ministry spokesman, said in a written statement.
Aksoy said Greece showcased its hostility against Islam and Turkey once again under the pretext of showing reaction against the reopening of Hagia Sophia Mosque for worship.
The Hagia Sophia served as a church for 916 years until the conquest of Istanbul, and a mosque from 1453 to 1934 — nearly 500 years — and most recently as a museum for 86 years.
One of the most visited historic buildings in Turkey by domestic and international tourists, Hagia Sophia was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1985, during its time as a museum.
On July 10, a Turkish court annulled a 1934 Cabinet decree that had turned Hagia Sophia into a museum, paving the way for its use again as a mosque after an 86-year hiatus.
The first prayer since its official reconversion to a mosque was held on Friday.