AS/Cult (2022) DEC01

4 December 2020

Or. English



Written declaration on Hagia Sophia[1]

The change of the status of Hagia Sophia, in Istanbul, from a museum into a mosque on 13 July 2020 is indicative of Turkey’s disregard of cultural and religious values. This monument is one of the most significant World Heritage Sites and a legendary symbol of the interaction between civilizations and the coexistence of cultures. Hagia Sophia’s sublime beauty transcends individual religions. As an architectural masterpiece it has had a widespread influence both on Western and Islamic art. The violation of this unique inheritance is reprehensible and unacceptable. It is also a discriminatory step backwards, thatclearly undermines Turkey’s secular identity and multicultural legacy.

This decision also runs counter to the Parliamentary Assembly’s core values and principles, particularly as regards interreligious and intercultural dialogue and the principle of living together. As a multicultural organisation by definition, we need to build cohesive societies that are receptive to diversity and find ways for people of different faiths and beliefs to peacefully co-exist in diverse societies by protecting human rights for all, safeguarding the rule of law and guaranteeing religious freedom.

[1] Declaration adopted by the committee on 4 December 2020, based on a proposal by Mr Nicos Tornaritis, Chairperson of the Cyprus Delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe.