Turkish Blackmail: Why Erdogan Changed Hagia Sophia's Status

Mounting tension between NATO allies Greece and Turkey stems from unsolved economic and humanitarian problems. According to RISS expert Georgy Sosnov, "even in the worst case scenario, conflict will not grow into full-blown war; neither the EU nor NATO wants to aggravate the confrontation."

Greece opposes Ankara's claims on hydrocarbon exploration in Cyprus exclusive economic zone. According to maritime deal between Turkey and the Government of National Accord of Libya, Ankara and Tripoli "have determined the precise and fair delimitation of their respective Maritime areas in the Mediterranean sea." Athens is against the fact that the maritime borders of these countries are close to Crete and other Greek islands.

The tension is aggravated by the humanitarian and religious contradictions between Turkey and Greece. Sosnov recalled that the Turkish Council of State had decided to transfer the Hagia Sophia from the Turkey's Ministry of Culture to the Directorate of Religious Affairs. The move was not particularly welcomed abroad and caused a wave of criticism in Greece. However, the Hagia Sofia will not be closed for tourism, RISS expert outlines.

"Erdogan has not yet received support from Muslims for his decision to turn Hagia Sophia from a museum into a mosque. It has been supported only by Qatar, Hamas, and a major Muslim Youth Movement of Malaysia; the rest countries do not want Erdogan to strengthen his position in the Muslim world. It is quite possible that Erdogan just wanted to raise the wave of criticism in the Christian world and bargain with the EU. But nothing like this has happened," Sosnov concluded.

Greece Turkey