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Accueil arrow newsitems arrow CoE Ministers Committee Head calls to Save UNESCO World Heritage Sainte Sophie from change to Mosque

CoE Ministers Committee Head calls to Save UNESCO World Heritage Sainte Sophie from change to Mosque

Ecrit par ACM
Friday, 26 June 2020

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*Strasbourg/Angelo Marcopolo/- PanEuropean, 47 Member States-strong (Russia included) CoE's President,  Alt. Foreign Minister Miltiades Varvitsiotis, launched a vibrant Call to Save UNESCO World Heritage Monument, the Historic, Over-Millenary Church of Sainte Sophie (alias "Agia Sophia"), currently a very popular Museum, from Recent Threats by the Turkish Government, including President Erdogan,  to turn it into a Mosque...  

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He was Replying to various MEPs' Questions, (including one from Turkey, on "Freedom of Religion"), at the Standing Committee of CoE's Parliamentary Assembly (PACE), where he has served for a Long Time as former MEP, and Recently Elected vice-President of its Biggest Political Group, that of ChristianDemocrats/EPP.

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- Currently, "there is a Great Concern for us, (Europe), and a Great Concern for the Global Community, ... about the Attempt to use Agia Sophia as a Mosque", he Denounced.

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- This goes, "particularly, within the framework of UNESCO", and includes a move "Not to Preserve its (Sainte Sophie's) Global Position as a World Heritage Monument", Varvitsiotis Warned.

 

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- However, currently, "that Symbolizes a Great Monument, Both for ...Christianity", (particularly "Orthodox", but Not Only: See Infra - During More than 1,5 Millenary, or about 1.700 Years, since the Initial Creation of that Church on 360, throughout the Christian-Greek Byzantine Empire's Civilisation), "and the Turkish Muslims, Since they started their Presence (sic !) in Istanbul/Constantinople", as he said, (i.e. During about 550 Years, Since the 1.453 Bloody Turkish Military Invasion and Occupation of Constantinople).

                                                                                     

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=> "So, it's very Important to SaveGuard such Monuments, and give them to the World Heritage", CoE's President-in-office Urged.
 

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- And this, Also, "as an humble Example of InterCultural coordination", he Modestly Added.


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In Fact, notoriously, Greek Byzantines Build that Monument with its Famous Huge Dome, Full of Light and Icons, (Near an Ancient Temple of Apollon), and Turks Surrounded it by some Minarets Outside, added a few Graves or Symbols of Conquest, and Systematicaly Erased or Covered up Icons.

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- Varvitsiotis, Earlier, had Warned that he would Not be Free to Answer MEPs' Questions "as a Foreign Minister of Greece", (that he was), since he had Now to "speak as a President of CoE's Committee of Ministers", according to its rules and procedures. (What he really did, Also, just Before the Religious Freedom Question, by Answering, with a very ..."Technical" and Neutral Language, anOther Question, Raised by the President of the EuroLeft Group of MEPs, Dutch Senator Tiny Cox, about 2 Dissident Politicians' Freedom of Expression Violations in Turkey, as found by ECHR, where they had been Prosecuted, Destituted, Condemned and Jailed, for some Simple Critical, but Peaceful Declarations)...

=> To the point that, PACE's New President, Liberal Belgian Senator, Rik Daems, smiling, then, Suggested that "CoE's Assembly should Vote for a New Additional Protocol to the ECHR, Protecting the Freedom of Expression of CoE's Committee of Ministers' President !"...

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+ Meanwhile, however, even USA's Ambassador at large for Religious Freedom, former Long-Time Senator Sam Brownback, (Appointed by US President Don Trump), Published at the Internet a Written Statement on "the Hagia Sophia", stressing that it "Holds Enormous Spiritual and Cultural Significance".

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>>> Therefore, "we (USA) Call on the Government of Turkey to Maintain it as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and to Maintain the Accessibility to All, in its current Status as a Museum".

Sainte Sophie has been Officially Declared as a "Museum" Already Since 1934, (i.e. During almost 87 Years now).

It Attracts "almost 3,4 Millions of Visitors, Annually", (according to "Wikipedia").

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- And it affects "Billions of Believers, of Different Faiths, around the World", wrote Today USA's Ambassador for Religious Freedom, Sam Brownback, (Comp. Supra).

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+ But, Meanwhile, a Russian MEP had formaly Raised a Question to Erdogan, at CoE's Assembly in Strasbourg, as early as since 2006, about whether the alleged Respect of Religious Freedom in Turkey would Allow for Christian People to become anew able to Celebrate the Divine Mass in Sainte Sophie Cathedral, as they used to do during Millenaries...

++ Already, the International Treaty of Sevres (1920), whose Centenary Anniversary is due to be Commemorated this August 2020, Drafted and Signed by the Winners of the 1st World War and Many Other Countries, had Explicitly Subordinated All "the Rights of the Turkish Government over Constantinople", to the "Faithfull Observation of the Provisions ... as regards the Protection of the Rights to Racial, Religious or Linguistic Minorities" :

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=> "In the event of Turkey Failing to" do so, "the Allied Powers expressely reserve(d) the right to Modify the ... provisions, and Turkey hereby agree(d) to accept Any Dispositions which May be Taken" (on Constantinople's fate) !

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- But, on the Contrary, inter alia, f.ex., when Christian Catholic Pope Benedict on 2005, Followed by German Chancellor Angie Merkel, Later-on, made Official Visits to Turkey, Visiting also Constantinople and Sainte Sophie, various Press Articles and Politicians' Statements had Created an UnForgetable Atmosphere of ...Terror, threatening with "Warnings" on "the Consequences" that Risked to have Any Move which Might be Interpreted as a ...Christian Religious "Prayer" inside Agia Sophia Cathedral...

=> Pope Benedict bypassed that with an open Gesture, which could be Interpreted as a Joint Prayer, inside the Neighbouring "Blue Mosque", while Chancellor Merkel Artfuly used a remarked Long and Deep Look Up towards the Sky, at Agia Sophia, while Crossing Hands, which might be Interpreted, by outward observers, in various ways...

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- However, "in 2015, in Retaliation for the Acknowledgment, by (Christian Catholic) Pope Francis, of the Armenian Genocide, the Mufti of Ankara, Mefail Hızlı, (reportedly) stated that ...the Conversion of Hagia Sophia into a Mosque will be Accelerated".     

=> In Consequence, "On 1 July 2016, Muslim Prayers were (Openly) held again in the Hagia Sophia for the First time in 85 Years", according to "Wikipedia". "On November" 2016, a "Turkish NGO ... filed a Lawsuit for Converting the Museum into a Mosque", (which was Stoped at a Court). "On 13 May 2017, a Large Group o People, ... in front of Hagia Sophia ...Prayed ...with a Call for the Reconversion ...into a Mosque". "On 21 June 2017, the (State-Controlled) Direction of Religious Affairs (Diyanet) organized ...the Recitation of the Quran and Prayers in Hagia Sofia", "Broadcast live by State-run Television TRT". "On 31 March 2018 Turkish president ...Erdoğan recited the 1st Verse of the Quran in the Hagia Sophia, dedicating the Prayer ...Especially (to) Istanbul's Conqueror" (sic !). "In March 2019 Erdoğan said that he will Change the status of Hagia Sophia, from a Museum to a Mosque,[69] adding that it was a "very big Mistake" to turn it into a Museum".    He says that it's "a Demand of the Turkish People", and that he'd "Wait until the (Local) Elections' End". In 2020, Turkey's Government is set to celebrate the 567th Anniversary of the Ottoman Conquest of Istanbul, with an Islamic Prayer in Hagia Sophia"  ...as part of conquest festival," Turkish president ...Erdoğan said. In May 2020, during the Anniversary events, passages from the Quran was read in the Hagia Sophia. In June, 2020 the head of the Turkey’s Religious Affairs Directorate (Diyanet) said that "we would be very happy to Open Hagia Sophia for Worship", and ..."we will provide our Religious Services, as we do in all our Mosques”.

But, meanwhile, the Opposition Party CHP, which Won the Latest Elections at Istanbul/Constantinople is, reportedly, Against that, and its MPs Prefer for Agia Sophia to Remain a Museum...

So that, (withOut Illusions), the New Mayor of Istanbul/Constantinople, Imamoglou, had, apparently, made a quite Better Impression, Recently in Strasbourg, when he had been Heard by CoE's CLRAE.

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It's true that Both Istanbul/Constantinople and Smyrne/Izmir Regions, are very Often Opposed, Socio-Politically, to the Rest of Turkey, in Most Elections, during Many Years, to the point that they have routinely Become Familiar, Distinct Opposition "Hotspots" in the Political MAPs formed After National or Regional/Local Elections...

It's Always them, at the West, and the Kurdish Regions, at the East, which are Distinguished from the Rest.

GeoPolitically, mutatis-mutandis, it really looks almost Like the International Sevres' Treaty MAP, (which had Notoriously preserved "Special" Status for Both these Regions) !

Naturally, this does Not Necessarily Mean that Imamoglou, and/or Someone Else around Istanbul/Constantinople, might have Already Become somewhat Similar to the Spanish "Autonomist" MEP Puigdemon, from Catalonia's Barcelona...

-  However, it's also true that, in Paris, still exists, (Between Elysee Palace and Saint Lazare Railway Station), a landmark, Historic "Europe Square",  surrounded by many Streets with the Names of all European Capital Cities, including Moscow and even Constantinople.

Not Ankara : Obviously, Because it's Not Located inside Europe, But in Asia !

 

(../..)

 

("Draft-News")

 

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*Paris/ACM/12 October 2008/-

When Europeans really feel a vital need to urgently launch common replies to challenging World Crisis, as the present Financial turmoil of Global Markets, they forge new decision-making tools and new dynamics :

The 1st in History EuroZone Heads of State and Government Summit, organized in Paris at the invitation of French President, and current EU chair, Nicolas Sarkozy, with the participation of 15 national leaders and EU institutions' chairmen, partly enlarged to British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, after a highly symbolic duo with German Chancelor Angie Merkel, at General De Gaulle's birth-village, 50 Years after he welcomed there former German chancellor Adenauer (1958-2008), may have not one, but two results :

- The first, and more urgent, was to launch an "ambitious", "coherent", and "efficient" common European movement, able to stimulate "solutions" to the World Economic Crisis, as Sarkozy anounced from the outset : State Garantees (to new Bank debts up to 5 years), fresh Capital input (f.ex. by buying shares), support to distressed banks, (while also restructuring them), incite the European Central Bank to facilitate commerial bills europe-wide, etc.

"Acting swiftly", from tomorrow, national measures will quantify all these targets, with coordinated actions from all EuroZone's Governments : France, Germany, Italy and others, decided to anounce, at the same time, such concrete measures, according to agreements that we have already made all together, revealed Sarkozy at the final Press Conference, flanked by EuroZone's chairmen : EuroGroup's Jean-Claude Juncker, and Central European Bank's Jean-Claude Truchet, as well as EU Commission's Jose Baroso, to solemnly stress the will to find common European solutions.

- "United and Determined, all EuroZone's Countries will act to prove that Citizens can Trust" the Economy, Sarkozy concluded. If we attract also all EU's 27 countries, Wednesday in Brussels, then we can coordinate action with our American Friends at a Global level, he anounced.

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- "With this new Toolbox, we do not want to serve Bankers, but to work for Europe and its Citizens' interests", added Juncker.

- "For the moment, we want to act urgently to regulate the Crisis. But the time will come when those responsible for this, will have to account for their actions. Yes to real Capitalism, No to Speculators. Those who abused, will face sanctions, Sarkozy warned.


Need stimulates activities which create new organs, say biologists, and Gordon Brown, compatriot of Spencer, the famous bio-Historian, would certainly not deny that, after his surprise visit to EuroZone's Summit in Paris, which attracted him one hour more than scheduled...

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Decisions include also the creation of a Crisis-management European mechanism, which "requires constant Monitoring", as well as strengthening Economic policy cooperation between EuroZone's countries.

Sarkozy will be judged by History not just by the immediate Economic results, expected at the end of this week's decision-making proces at National and EU level, but also by the more far-reaching consequences at the aftermath of this Historic EuroZone 1st Summit : Will it succeed to become a precursor forging a New era in European institution's revitalization ?

Significantly, the French President sat, during discussions, between German Chancelor Merkel, and British Prime Minister Brown, facing the chairmen of EuroGroup, Juncker, ECB : Truchet, and EU Commission, Baroso, with Prime Ministers of Spain, Zapatero (a hot partisan of EuroZone's Summit) at his right side, and Italy's Berlusconi, at his left, surrounded by Austrian, Belgian, Cyprus', Finland's, Greece's, and Ireland's leaders, as well as Slovakia's, Slovenia's, Portugal's, Netherlands', Malta's and Luxembourg's leaders.

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Meanwhile, those who tabled for a rift between French and German positions were faced with a smiling Merkel at De Gaulle-Adenauer's meeting place, a sunny Saturday morning, and a particularly active-looking Merkel inside the French Presidential Palace at Elysee's gardens on Sunday, (as happy few photographers discovered)..

- "De Gaulle's hilltop, at Colombey-les-2-Eglises, gave an astonishing overview to a huge landscape, entirely surrounded by splendid Nature, as far as eyes could see", said to EuroFora an obviously charmed German Journalist.

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She was describing Saturday's inauguration of a High-Tech Memorial close to the Historic Giant Double Lorraine's Cross, built by famous Novelist Andre Malraux, to perpetuate the Memory of his famous call for "Resistance" to NAZI, and his vision for the creation of New Institutions and Franco-German reconciliation, to foster Europe's role in the World, also for the Future.

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Children playing at Elysee's gardens before the Historic 1st EuroZone's Summit : What Europe's Future will look like ?


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