Erdoğan: Being remembered as the president who made Hagia Sophia a mosque again is the greatest honour

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan mentioned the conversion of Hagia Sophia into a mosque during an art award event in Istanbul on Saturday night.

The awards in question have been established in memory of the militant Islamist Turkish poet Necip Fazıl Kısakürek, who was a staunch campaigner for the reopening of the Hagia Sophia as a mosque and had clashed politically with the Kemalist establishment.

"37 years after his (the poet's) death, we had the honour to open the Hagia Sophia, which was his biggest dream. Glory be to Allah. After 80 years of longing, we broke the chains together and restored Hagia Sophia to its original form, according to the wish of the Conqueror," said the Turkish President from the event's podium.

"I once again praise Allah for giving us this honour, this dignity to celebrate the end of the captivity of Hagia Sophia,", he said and added: "To be remembered as the President who reopened Hagia Sophia is the greatest honour in the world of our heart".

Erdoğan also said that the ones who will protect the Hagia Sophia are the young people who will respond to the call individually. "

As long as this happens, God willing, the sound of the Qu'ran from the domes of Hagia Sophia and the call to prayer from its minarets will never cease. The Great Mosque of Hagia Sophia will continue to appeal to the hearts of the faithful forever as a symbol of the Turkish century," he added.

Originally built in the 6th century as an Orthodox Christian cathedral, it was turned into a mosque following the Ottoman conquest of Istanbul – then Constantinople – in 1453.

It then became a museum after the formation of modern secular Turkey in 1923, but a top court ruled in July 2020 that the change was illegal. Erdoğan signed a presidential decree that opened the way for its use as a mosque.

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