Returning Hagia Sophia to the status of a mosque in Turkey could lead to a religious split and create a dangerous precedent for other religious groups, according to a letter from the acting Director-General of the World council of churches, Ioan Sauki, to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
In a letter distributed on Saturday by the press service of the World council of churches, Sauka expresses “the grief and dismay of 350 churches from 110 countries that are members of the council” over the step taken by the Turkish authorities in relation to Hagia Sophia.
“By choosing to make Hagia Sophia back a Church, you have reversed Turkey’s positive signs of openness and turned them into signs of exclusion and division,” the letter says.
Sauk regrets that Turkey’s decision was made without discussing the situation with UNESCO, given the universal value of Hagia Sophia.
According to him, the return of Hagia Sophia to the status of a mosque “will inevitably lead to uncertainty, suspicion, and distrust, and will undermine all efforts to unite people of different faiths at the same table of dialogue and cooperation.”
Also, they fear that the decision of the Turkish authorities “will inspire the ambitions of other groups anywhere that want to change the existing status quo and promote the idea of dividing religious communities.”