EU ministers chide Turkey over Haghia Sophia

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The European Union and Turkey were on a collision course over Ankara’s decision to alter the status of Haghia Sophia, from a museum to a mosque, the EU’s foreign affairs chief Josep Borrell said on Monday.


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The 27 EU foreign ministers said that they “condemned the decision to convert such an emblematic monument as the Haghia Sophia,” Borrell said.

“This decision will inevitably fuel the mistrust, promote renewed division between religious communities and undermine our efforts at dialogue and cooperation,” he said after the first face-to-face meeting of EU foreign ministers in several months following the coronavirus pandemic.

Borrell added there was “broad support to call on the Turkish authorities to urgently consider and reverse this decision.”

Haghia Sophia was originally built as a Christian cathedral in Istanbul, and the pope and others have expressed their disappointment over the move by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

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