Hagia Sophia mosque reopens for the first prayer after 86 years in Turkey
After very nearly 86 years, Muslim prayers were held in the notable Hagia Sophia situated in Istanbul, Turkey, on Friday, July 24. Many Muslim admirers including the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan who recently issued the order to change over the Hagia Sophia from a museum into a mosque joined the prayers.
Turkey President Recep Tayyip Erdogan went to the first prayer service on Friday at the Hagia Sophia in more than 86 years. His order came after a top court in the nation pronounced the 1953 order for changing over the monument into a museum as illicit.
Thousands accumulated from across Turkey to go to the service – the first since Recep Tayyip Erdogan canceled Hagia Sophia’s status as a museum. Regions outside of the structure were segmented off for prayer, quickly filling.
A few cabinet ministers and other top representatives likewise joined the colossal horde of admirers who had accumulated for the debut prayers.
Upwards of 350,000 individuals partook in the prayer, with numerous participation wearing face masks as a precaution during the coronavirus pandemic.
Recep Tayyip Erdogan began the prayer with a recitation of the Quran, at that point gave the service over to Ali Erbas, who prayed that Muslims could never again be “denied” the option to revere at Hagia Sophia.
Built almost 1,500 years back, Hagia Sophia was the primary cathedral in the Roman Empire. Following a thousand years, the Ottomans changed over the structure into a mosque following the sack of Constantinople.
At the point when national saint Mustafa Kemal Ataturk set up the modern state of Turkey, he changed over the mosque into a museum, a move that was per his secular policy for the new nation.
The decision to reopen the Byzantine structure as a mosque drew analysis from Greece, the United States, and Christian church leaders who approached Recep Tayyip Erdogan to keep up the museum status of Hagia Sophia, however, the president finished the move following a high court order.
“This is Hagia Sophia breaking away from its captivity chains. It was the greatest dream of our youth,” Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said last week. “It was the yearning of our people and it has been accomplished.”
Some believe that Erdogan has pushed through the move to battle his sagging popularity during an economic downturn.
“It allows him to switch the narrative away from the economy to the culture wars, an area where he did well in the past by mobilizing his right-wing base,” said Soner Cagaptay, Turkey analyst for the Washington Institute and author of “Erdogan’s Empire,” told The Associated Press.
The move has demonstrated famous with Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s base, however: dozens assembled outside of the structure following the court order a week ago, and hundreds stayed outdoors for the time being to be prepared for the first prayer on Friday.
Many admirers got through one police checkpoint to surge toward Hagia Sophia and social distancing practices, set up due to the coronavirus outbreak, were being overlooked, Turkish media announced.
Retired teacher Suleyman Karatas stated: “God willing, it will stay as a mosque. Because Hagia Sophia is the legacy of our ancestors.”
Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government has guaranteed that Hagia Sophia’s artifacts will stay ensured and that the structure will even now be available to public visits outside of prayer hours.