On the day when a decision is made regarding the status of Hagia Sophia in Istanbul, an open letter was published by leading world Byzantinists, calling for a debate about the jurisdiction over this site inscribed on UNESCO World Heritage List. The letter is made available for the public to sign at:
Renowned historians of Byzantine art from the USA initiated and sent over the letter to academia a week ago. They were backed by Professors at Yale, Harvard, Stanford, Princeton, Cambridge, Oxford, Max-Planck Institute, Koç Üniversitesi, Austrian Academy of Sciences, by institutions in France, Canada, Serbia, Greece, Russia, Japan, Belgium, etc. Impressively, Turkish colleagues, who studied and worked abroad, supported it. Now not only wider communities of researchers, but also citizens can feel free to join.
The ‘collision’ over the status of Hagia Sophia in Bulgarian virtual domain leaves a slightly comical savoir as may be seen and voted for at: https://m.fakti.bg/collision/1449-ide-li-krayat-na-evropeyskata-tsivilizatsiya-
Where a blue like means Hagia Sophia remaining a museum, while a red one, being converted into a mosque.
In blue letters above:
Prof. Emmanuel Moutafov, Director of the Institute of Art Studies, BAS, Sofia:
‘Converting an emblem of Christianity, dedicated to the Divine Wisdom, into a simple place of worship for Islam without an adequate stewardship, would mean an end to the European civilization, which gradually falls prey to its own neoliberalism, subject solely to profit and benefit from the cheap Gastarbeiter labour. This is perhaps the reason as to why the European Union keeps silent on the matter’.
In red letters:
Recep Tayyip Erdogan
‘Hagia Sophia will no longer be called a museum. Its status will change. We will call it a mosque. Those who remain silent when Masjid Al-Aqsa is attacked, trampled, its windows smashed, cannot tell us what to do about the status of Hagia Sofia.’
The above public opinion survey rather seeks to clarify the attitudes of the Bulgarians towards the future of the European Union and retaining its cultural identity.