BEIRUT, LEBANON (10:10 A.M.) – The Imam of the Hagia Sophia began the prayer in the presence of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the worshipers on Friday
Earlier on Friday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan arrived at the Hagia Sophia mosque in Istanbul, where the first prayer for the mosque began after 86 years.
The mayor of Istanbul, Ali Yirlikaya, announced the closure of the roads surrounding the Hagia Sophia mosque, due to the heavy traffic caused by the large attendance.
On July 10, Turkey’s Supreme Administrative Court overturned the decision of the Council of Ministers of November 24, 1934, to transfer Istanbul’s Hagia Sophia from a mosque to a museum.
Despite many pleas from several countries and UNESCO, Erdogan went through with the decision, which has since prompted nations like Greece and France to criticize Turkey over this move.
Erdogan, however, said that the decision to transform the museum back into a mosque was Turkey’s alone and that he is not seeking their approval.