Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan announced that Hagia Sophia mosque will be open for prayer on July 24.
"Hagia Sophia will start functioning as a mosque after 86 years. I hope this decision will benefit all of humanity. "The doors of Hagia Sophia will be open to everyone," he said.
"Open to all, Muslims and non-Muslims," he added.
The speech began at 20:53, with some Turkish media reporting that the specific time was chosen in advance, as it symbolises the year 2053 and 600 years since the fall of Constantinople in 1453.
In his speech, the Turkish president stated, among other things, that … “we are cancelling the paid entrance, as Hagia Sophia is leaving the museum status. The common world heritage of Hagia Sophia will continue to embrace the whole world with its new regime, in a sincere and authentic way.”
Cumhurbaşkanı Erdoğan, Millete Sesleniş konuşması yapıyor https://t.co/G2ZEkroF7D
— AA Canlı (@AACanli) July 10, 2020