Two United Nations experts called on Friday the Turkish authorities to preserve the ancient Basilica of Saint Sophia, which has been converted into a mosque by the country’s government, as a “meeting point between cultures” that reflect “the diversity and complexity of culture reflects “Turkey and its history. “
“It would be a historic mistake if, during this period of global difficulties, measures were taken to split religious and cultural groups in Turkey and beyond, rather than unite them,” said Special Rapporteur on Cultural Rights Karima Bennoune and Special Rapporteur on Religions – and freedom of belief Ahmed Shaheed.
In this context, experts have expressed “concern” that the Turkish government’s decision will change the building’s status and that its “hasty implementation” could violate the country’s commitments to the UNESCO World Heritage Convention. 1972.
“We share UNESCO’s concern that converting a place of exceptional universal value requires prior notification and consultation of everyone involved to ensure that everyone’s human rights are respected,” they said, stressing that Hagia Sophia is the tourist attraction. Turkey is the most visited and a monument of “worldwide importance”.