ATHENS (Reuters) – Greece on Tuesday described Turkey’s determination to transform the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul to a mosque as “pointless and petty” and referred to as for harder European Union motion over Ankara’s fuel exploration actions within the Mediterranean.
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan’s transfer to modify the standing of Hagia Sophia to a mosque has struck a uncooked nerve with many Greeks, who revere the sixth century constructing as a focus of their Orthodox Christian religion.
Greece, whose relations with Turkey are fraught with historic tensions, says the matter is just not a bilateral dispute.
“With this backward motion, Turkey is opting to sever hyperlinks with western world and its values,” Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis stated.
“Confronted with this pointless, petty initiative from Turkey, Greece is contemplating its response in any respect ranges,” Mitsotakis stated, in a reference to Hagia Sophia.
A Turkish courtroom dominated final week that Hagia Sophia’s conversion to a museum in 1934 was illegal. Declaring the constructing a mosque, Erdogan stated prayers could be held there inside two weeks, in a transfer that drew worldwide criticism.
Relations between Greece and Turkey are sometimes tense over Cyprus, divided between its Greek and Turkish Cypriot populations after an abortive Greek-inspired coup which triggered a Turkish invasion in 1974.
Strikes by the island’s Greek Cypriot-led authorities to probe for offshore pure fuel have been countered by Turkish makes an attempt at fuel exploration in the identical areas.
“Europe ought to as soon as and for all draft a selected checklist of actions, and sanctions in opposition to a rustic which seeks to be a regional troublemaker, and which is evolving right into a risk to the soundness of the entire south-east Mediterranean area,” Mitsotakis stated.
(Reporting by Michele Kambas; Enhancing by Giles Elgood)