While most of the civilized world continues to protest the conversion of Hagia Sophia into a mosque, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan visited the site ahead of the first Muslim prayers set to take place on July 24– a day the Greek Orthodox Church in the United States has designated a national day of mourning.
Erdogan, who said he will attend the first Friday prayers in Hagia Sophia, was accompanied by ministers and head of the Presidency of Religious Affairs during his visit. Culture and Tourism Minister Mehmet Nuri Ersoy and Istanbul Governor Ali Yerlikaya informed the president on the work inside Hagia Sophia which was being readied for worship.
According to Turkish media, none of the Christian iconography will be covered with plaster. Instead, technicians will use lights and curtains to conceal the prized Byzantine iconography and mosaics that have adorned the Christian Cathedral for centuries.
Erdogan posed for photos, which he posted to his Instagram account, receiving tens of thousands of negative comments, which were eventually deleted. Erdogan eventually turned off comments on the post.
Erdogan’s move to convert the museum into a mosque was greeted with a global outcry of outrage, including calls from U.S. Presidential candidate Joe Biden, numerous U.S. officials and nations throughout the world.
Only the terrorist organization HAMAS and the Muslim Brotherhood have issued statements of support of Erdogan’s decision to convert the UNESCO World Heritage Site into a mosque.
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