Turkish president recites Muslim prayer at the Hagia Sophia

Source: Associated Press

By ZEYNEP BILGINSOY

ISTANBUL (AP) — Turkey’s president recited an Islamic prayer Saturday in the Hagia Sophia, a historic Istanbul landmark that has become a symbol of interfaith and diplomatic tensions.

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President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called on guests attending the opening of an art festival to join him in silently reciting the first verse of the Quran. Erdogan dedicated the prayer to the “souls of all who left us this work as inheritance, especially Istanbul’s conqueror.”

The Hagia Sophia was built during the 6th century Christian Byzantine Empire and served as the seat of the Greek Orthodox Church. It was converted into an imperial mosque with the Ottoman conquest of Istanbul in 1453.

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