Spain’s foreign minister Arancha Gonzalez Laya said on Monday it was important that Turkey’s Hagia Sophia remains part of humanity’s shared global heritage, after it was reconverted into a mosque from a museum last week.
“For us it is important that the spirit of this great monument of Hagia Sophia is maintained,” she said at a joint news conference with her Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu in Ankara.
On Saturday, Turkey and Greece exchanged harsh words over the conversion of Istanbul’s Hagia Sophia into a mosque, a day after Islamic prayers were held at the ancient site for the first time in nine decades.
Greek criticism of the move to convert the site from a museum has been scathing, underlining tense ties between Greece and Turkey. Church bells tolled in mourning across Greece on Friday as Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan joined prayers at the building.
“Greece showed once again its enmity towards Islam and Turkey with the excuse of reacting to Hagia Sophia Mosque being opened to prayers,” Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman Hami Aksoy said in a written statement on Saturday.