Letter to Ms. Al-Khalifa,

 

I am writing to you once again to raise the issue of the Hagia Sophia Church-Museum which has been on UNESCO’s World
Heritage Site since 1985. In the past I have been assured by UNESCO that Hagia Sophia is not in danger because Turkey has
not announced any specific plans to alter the status of the Great Justinian’s Church. However, anyone who has been following the
news since last June is aware of the prayer services that have been taking place within Hagia Sophia. UNESCO therefore can no
longer claim ignorance in this matter.

What many faithful Greek Orthodox and other Christians as well as other interested observers are asking for is for UNESCO officials
to use their good offices to protest Turkish actions within Hagia Sophia and impending plans that could lead to the destruction of
Byzantine iconography that is both sacred to Christians and historically significant to historians and scholars. Considering the mounting
evidence that Hagia Sophia is in willful and deliberate danger, officials from UNESCO have willfully and deliberately closed their eyes.

It is in UNESCO’s mandate to protect World Heritage Sites. Once again. I request that UNESCO raise its voice in protest and use
its influence to protect Hagia Sophia. I also request a response that is more forthcoming than responses I have received in the past.

Thank you,

Theodore G. Karakostas