While the ancient structure was converted once more into a museum in 1935, it still remains a significant site in the Greek Orthodox faith.
“As you know, the mosque was converted to a museum in 1935, as a reflection of the (Republican People’s Party) CHP mentality. We may as well take a step and change that,” Erdogan was quoted as saying, according to the Greek Reporter.
Greek Foreign Minister George Katrougalos was swift to respond to the president's controversial plans: “It is not only a great temple of Christendom — the largest for many centuries — it also belongs to humanity. It has been recognized by UNESCO (the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization), as part of our global cultural heritage.”
“So any questioning of this status is not just an insult to the sentiments of Christians," Katrougalos declared, "it is an insult to the international community and international law."