Minutes after President Erdogan signed the decree turning Hagia Sophia into a Mosque, a crowd of Muslims gathered for a prayer at the UNESCO cultural site.
Journalist Ali Ozkok and others filmed it for Twitter
TASS/. The Muslim worship at the Hagia Sophia cathedral in Istanbul, which was turned from a museum into a mosque on Friday, will begin on July 24, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in a televised address to the nation on Friday.
"Upon the completion of preparatory measures, we plan to organize a religious service in Hagia Sophia on July 24. As its museum status has been revoked, entry fees will be cancelled. Its doors will always be open for local residents, foreign tourists, Muslims and followers of other religions," the Turkish leader said.
"The transformation of Hagia Sophia will be careful . . . will take six months. . . with an eye on preserving the humanity’s cultural heritage," he said.
Erdogan called upon everyone to respect the government’s decision. "We accept any expression of views on the matter, except for those aimed at undermining our sovereignty," the Turkish leader said.
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