The Alumni Association of the Aristoteles University of Thessaloniki adds its voice to the global condemnation of the Turkish President’s decision to convert Aghia Sofia into a mosque. Besides being a religious relic of Christianity, Aghia Sophia is also the symbol of the symbiosis between East and West. Leaving aside the intentions for such a decision, the conversion into a mosque undermines this symbiosis at a time when mankind most needs it. It also constitutes a provocation towards cultural humanity which posits that monuments supersede their epoch and become reference points independent of religious, national or cultural characteristics. In that respect, Aghia Sophia is a part of that cultural humanity.
The Alumni Association of the Aristoteles University of Thessaloniki calls on the Turkish, as well as the global, academic community to participate in supporting the review of the Turkish President’s decision. The ties of the cities of Thessaloniki and Constantinople have been strong during the Byzantine Empire. It is to the benefit of both people that they continue to develop nowadays. The decision to convert Aghia Sophia to a mosque does not support such an initiative. We hope that logic will prevail. We also hope that the sensitivity for maintaining peace in the region will be boosted by the spirit of coexistence. The symbolism of Aghia Sophia, in that respect, is catalytic.