Erdogan joins thousands to pray for first time at Hagia Sophia mosque in 86 years

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Friday’s historic prayers in Turkey’s Hagia Sophia Mosque marked the first acts of worship there in 86 years.

Thousands of people took part in the traditional Friday prayers both inside and outside the historic mosque in Istanbul, Turkey’s largest metropolis.

Before the Friday prayers, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan recited from the Quran inside the reopened mosque, choosing from both the Surah Al-Fatihah and the Surah Al-Baqarah.

Later, four muezzins from the mosque’s four minarets recited the Azan, or call to the prayer, and the people started the Friday prayers.

During the service, Ali Erbas, the head of Turkey’s Religious Affairs Directorate (Diyanet), read out a special khutbah, or sermon, before the collective prayer, titled as “Hagia Sophia: Sign of conquest, our trust in Fati̇h [Sultan Mehmet].”

Erbas said: “In this blessed time, together, we are witnessing a historical moment in this holy place.”

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