To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what recent representation he has made to (a) his Turkish counterpart and (b) UNESCO on the importance of the Hagia Sophia to human civilisation and the need to ensure that the public retains access to the site because of its outstanding value to humankind.
While we note the concern this action has caused internationally, the Government regards this as a sovereign matter for Turkey. We have therefore not discussed the matter with other countries or organisations. It is for States Parties to the World Heritage Convention to ensure that their designated World Heritage List sites comply with the terms of the Convention. We work closely with UNESCO, its advisory bodies and partner governments to promote the highest standards of heritage protection. This helps to ensure designated sites are protected effectively for the whole of humanity, and for future generations.