The Turkish Foreign Ministry has reacted strongly to Greece’s criticism of reading the Koran in Hagia Sophia in Istanbul throughout Ramadan.
“The Greek Foreign Ministry’s statement with regards to TRT Diyanet TV’s sahur program entitled ‘Hagia Sophia at the time of abundance,’ which will be broadcast throughout the month of Ramadan, is unacceptable,” Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Tanju Bilgiç said in a written statement released on June 8.
The statement further says that Greece is “mistaking anti-Islamism with contemporaneity.”
Turkey‘s Foreign Ministry counterattacks the Greek claims by saying that Greece has not permitted the building of a mosque in its capital for years. Bilgiç also said in the statement that Greece has often interfered against the religious freedoms of the “Turkish minority in western Thrace.”
“In this regard, we would like to remind [Greece] that respecting other religions and their forms of worship is among the values of contemporary, democratic and secular societies,” the statement continued.
This was a direct response to the Greek Foreign Ministry statement that said, “Obsessions, verging on bigotry, with Muslim rituals in a monument of world cultural heritage are incomprehensible and reveal a lack of respect for and connection with reality,” adding that the practice contradicted the values of modern, democratic and secular societies.