Conversion of Chora Monastery into a mosque a ‘tragic’ decision, even for Turks, Pompeo says

Former U.S. secretary of state Mike Pompeo was strongly critical of the Turkish government’s decision to convert the Byzantine Chora Monastery from a museum into a mosque, while talking to journalists in Athens, including Athens-Macedonian News Agency (ANA-MPA) President and General Director Aimilios Perdikaris. The press conference was held on the margins of the International Conference of the Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate on May 26-29.
The former head of the state department said the decision was “tragic” for Turkish citizens and the faithful of all religions, while he also referred to the wars in the Middle East and Ukraine, the stance adopted by Washington and the upcoming U.S. presidential elections in the autumn, including the likelihood of Donald Trump’s re-election.
Pompeo said the decision to convert the former church into a mosque was not only a blow to religious freedoms but undermined the freedom of Turkish citizens – while noting that the Trump administration had indicated that such an action would not be tolerated, as it also contravened the fundamental principles of the European Union, which Turkiye is seeking to join, and the idea of its participation in NATO. He described the decision as contrary to human dignity and personal religious freedom, as well as a reminder of the difficulty of protecting human rights. Replying to an ANA-MPA question on whether the recent improvement in relations between Greece and Turkiye could contribute to a good outcome on this issue, he expressed certainty that the Greek government will strive for this and said that an improvement in Greek-Turkish relations will increase the chances of finding “more space” for religious freedoms in Turkiye – and not just for Orthodox Christians.