Turkey – Hagia Sophia – Statement by M. Jean-Yves Le Drian, Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs (10 July 2020)


France deplores the Turkish Council of State’s decision to change the status of the Hagia Sophia Museum and President Erdoğan’s decree placing it under the authority of the Direcorate of Religious Affairs. These decisions undermine one of the most symbolic acts of modern, secular Turkey. The integrity of this religious, architectural and historical jewel – a symbol of religious freedom, tolerance and diversity included on UNESCO’s World Heritage List – must be protected. Hagia Sophia must continue to represent the plurality and diversity of religious heritage, dialogue and tolerance./.