The Georgian Orthodox Church said on July 9 that it would be “a wise step today if the Hagia Sophia remains a neutral place,” reacting to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s proposal to return the mosque status to the ancient monument.
Expressing its ”heartache” about the possible loss of a neutral museum status for Hagia Sophia, the Georgian Church highlighted that the UNESCO World Heritage site was built as ”an outstanding Christian church and functioned as such for nearly 1,000 years.”
“It is also known that this statement [about status-change] made by the Turkish side was conditioned by certain reasons; however, at present, as humanity is facing many global challenges, maintaining and strengthening benevolence between Christians and Muslims is of paramount importance,” noted the Georgian Orthodox Church.
Stressing its respect to the sovereignty of Turkey, the Georgian Orthodox Church expressed hope that “the friendly country” will not perceive their opinion as an interference in its internal affairs.
“We hope that the good-neighborly, friendly, and strategic relations between Turkey and Georgia will continue to deepen, which will be very beneficial for both countries,” the Orthodox Church statement concluded.