ANKARA (Pakistan Point News / Sputnik - 13th July, 2020) Turkey will continue preserving the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul as a UNESCO world heritage site after its conversion into a mosque, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu pledged on Monday.
Late last week, UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay expressed regret over Ankara's decision to annul the 1934 decree converting Hagia Sophia into a museum without preliminary dialogue.
"We firmly refute comments violating Turkey's sovereign right. Any debate on the matter is inadmissible. We respect the opinion of those who want it to remain a world heritage site. Nothing was destroyed there when it opened as a mosque many years ago. We must preserve the heritage of our ancestors. So we were surprised by some statements by UNESCO," Cavusoglu said, aired by TRT broadcaster.