Hagia Sophia will loose artwork in the renovation
The Church of Hagia Sophia in the Black Sea in Trabzonm, Turkey, is to be turned into a mosque.
The legal battle has implications for other Turkish sites of historical importance.
The conversion of the church, which is currently a museum, marks a U-turn in Turkish government policy regarding safeguarding Christian monuments.
The Greek Reporter stated that Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman, Dimitri Avramopoulos, said that the ministry is “closely monitoring” the situation, adding that “we consider the protection of the monument a fundamental duty.”
The Turkish government defended their position, stating that the building was first converted into a mosque in 1462, and that a building converted into a mosque may be “used for no other purpose.”
Walls in the church are adorned with valuable Christian art, and it is feared that the art maybe destroyed completely in the renovation.
The Art Newspaper reported that authoritarian on the building, Anthony Eastmond of London’s Institute of Art, said that the church is “unique,” and that “there is no 13th century monument like it.