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Greek Church Says Erdogan Using Religion for Political Goals by Converting Hagia Sophia

© AFP 2021 / OZAN KOSETwo person are sitting in the garden of Sultanahmet mosque as Hagia Sophia is seen in the backround on July 11, 2020 in Istanbul, a day after a top Turkish court revoked the sixth-century Hagia Sophia's status as a museum, clearing the way for it to be turned back into a mosque. - The United States said on July 10, it was "disappointed" by Turkey's decision to turn the Byzantine-era monument Hagia Sophia back into a mosque and urged equal access for all visitors.
Two person are sitting in the garden of Sultanahmet mosque as Hagia Sophia is seen in the backround on July 11, 2020 in Istanbul, a day after a top Turkish court revoked the sixth-century Hagia Sophia's status as a museum, clearing the way for it to be turned back into a mosque. - The United States said on July 10, it was disappointed by Turkey's decision to turn the Byzantine-era monument Hagia Sophia back into a mosque and urged equal access for all visitors. - Sputnik International
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ATHENS (Sputnik) - Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is using religion as a means to achieve his geopolitical goals by converting Istanbul’s Hagia Sophia into a mosque, the head of the Greek Orthodox Church, Archbishop Ieronymos of Athens and All Greece, said in a statement that was distributed by domestic media on Sunday.
"The transformation of religion into an instrument for achieving party, geopolitical, and geostrategic goals only characterises the person who uses it to do so. Provocation and insults apply not only to the Orthodox Church and Christianity but also to all civilised humanity, every sentient being, regardless of religion", Archbishop Ieronymos said, as quoted by the Athens-Macedonian News Agency.

Pope Francis addresses pilgrims gathered in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican as he arrives to deliver his Sunday Angelus prayer on July 12, 2020. - Pope Francis said he was very distressed over Turkey's decision to convert the Byzantine-era monument Hagia Sophia back into a mosque. My thoughts go to Istanbul. I'm thinking about Hagia Sophia. I am very distressed, the pope said. - Sputnik International
Pope Francis 'Deeply Saddened' By Turkey's Move to Convert Hagia Sophia Into Mosque
Turkey's highest administrative court on Friday annulled a 1934 decree, which initially made the Hagia Sophia into a museum. This decision means that the site can now be used as a mosque, and a presidential decree was signed opening the Hagia Sophia for Muslim prayers.

President Erdogan said on Saturday that the decision will help continue to build a strong and mighty Turkey.

The ruling to convert the site in Istanbul into a mosque has been met with strong criticism from religious and political leaders across the world. The Russian Orthodox Church and the head of the Roman Catholic Church Pope Francis have expressed their regret at the decision.

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