The Greeks of Australia for Hagia Sophia

The Cyprus Community of Melbourne and Victoria along with the members of the Greek Community of Melbourne, have be sent a letter to the Prime Minister of Australia regarding the Hagia Sophia and the unacceptable decision of Erdogan to turn it into a Mosque.

The letter reads as follows:

 

His Excellency, The Prime Minister of Australia

The Right Hon. Scott Morrison

Prime Minister’s Office

Parliament House Canberra

Canberra, ACT 2600

Dear Prime Minister,

European Union countries, as well as UK, Russia, the US, UNESCO and church leaders around the world were among those who condemned and or expressed their deep concern and disappointment about changing the status of the sixth-century Greek Orthodox Temple of Agia Sophia from a museum for the humanity into a mosque for the Muslims.

The colossal Agia Sophia was built 1,500 years ago as a Greek Orthodox Christian cathedral and was converted into a mosque after the Ottomans conquered Constantinople, now Istanbul, in 1453. The secular Turkish government decided in 1934 to make it a museum, in an effort to demonstrate Turkey’s direction as part of the European society and as a proof of Turkey’s commitment to inclusion and secularism.

The decision of the Turkish President demonstrates disrespect to history pluralism, as well also Christianity and the European culture. The decision also represents a neo-Ottoman tendency to present Turkey as the pillar of the Islamic world.

Millions of Turkish intellectuals and secularists, including Nobel-winner Orhan Pamouk characterized the decision by President Erdogan as an open provocation to the civilized world and protested against the Islamic fundamentalism of the Turkish government. Pamouk rightly expressed the view that “abolishing the status f the Museum to Agia Sophia, Turkey closed any window remaining open to Europe and the world. Contemporary Turkey has now indicated that they wish no ties or links with the West and its legacies…”.

Prime Minister,

The Cyprus Community of Melbourne and Victoria along with the members of the Greek Community of Melbourne, strongly condemn this aggressive and irrational decision to change a World Heritage Monument into a Mosque and request the Commonwealth of Australia to publically reprehend and reproach the hostile attitude of the Turkish Government against the Agia Sophia Monument and to what it represented the last 1500 years.

Furthermore, we respectfully urge our Commonwealth Government not to welcome in Australia, the Neo-Ottoman leader, the current President of Turkey, whose presence could inflame public unrest and conflict.

In anticipation of your kind reply,

STELIOS ANGELODEMOU

PRESIDENT

CYPRUS COMMUNITY OF MELBOURNE AND VICTORIA

 

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