ISTANBUL (Armenpress) — The leaders of the ruling Turkish Justice and Development Party (AKP), headed by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, have started to take provocative measures as a response to the recognition of the Armenian Genocide by the German Bundestag. Since June 13, Koran readings are delivered at 2 p.m. every day at the Hagia Sophia museum. Hagia Sophia originally was a Greek Orthodox Christian patriarchal basilica. It was later turned into an imperial mosque, after the Ottoman conquest, but now is a museum (Ayasofya Müzesi) in Istanbul, Turkey.
From the date of its construction in AD 537 until 1453, it served as an Orthodox cathedral and seat of the Patriarch of Constantinople except between 1204 and 1261, when it was converted by the Fourth Crusaders to a Roman Catholic cathedral under the Latin Empire of Constantinople. The building was a mosque from May 29, 1453 until 1931. It was then secularized and opened as a museum on February 1, 1935.
The Koran readings are broadcast by the Turkish governmental TRT Diyanet TV channel. The largest Greek political party, “New Democracy,” has issued a statement on the incident, as follows: “The decision of the Turkish side to read the Koran at Hagia Sophia turns it into a mosque again. It is a provocative step that is a demonstration of disrespect towards Orthodox Christians.” The Greek Foreign Ministry has also condemned the Turkish authorities for the incident, saying that the decision is Turkey’s revenge on the Bundestag for the Armenian Genocide vote.