Syriza MEPs have sent a letter of complaint to EU Commission chief Ursula Von der Leyen and EU Parliament President David Sassoli after the executive’s services said in an official written reply that Istanbul’s Hagia Sophia church is… in Cyprus.
The MEPs said it was unacceptable that the Commission is unaware where one of the most important symbols of Christian heritage is.
In late July, the Turkish government decided to turn Hagia Sophia, a UNESCO World Heritage site, into a mosque prompting strong reactions across the world and questions to the Commission from Syriza lawmakers.
“The Commission monitors closely the situation concerning religious and cultural monuments in the areas not under the effective control of the Republic of Cyprus and attributes great importance to the preservation of cultural heritage,” the Commission said in its reply.
“Under the Aid Programme for the Turkish Cypriot community, it has provided nearly EUR 20 million since 2012 for supporting the activities of the bi-communal Technical Committee on Cultural Heritage, which include the conservation of several churches in the areas not under the effective control of the Republic of Cyprus,” it added. (Sarantis Michalopoulos | EURACTIV.com)