Turkey: Soylu says election victory will be observed by prayer at Hagia Sophia
Turkey's interior minister said on Thursday that they will perform a prayer of gratitude at Hagia Sophia after they win in the presidential election runoff on Sunday.
Attending an election campaign meeting for Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Istanbul, minister Soylu addressed supporters, saying:
"Recep Tayyip Erdogan's safety is entrusted to you (...) Sunday evening, the world leader will be re-elected with God's help. God willing, we'll perform our prayer of gratitude Monday morning at Hagia Sophia."
Soylu's remarks mark an apparent implication that Erdogan's supporters are devout Muslims and those of his rival Kemal Kilicdaroglu do not have such a quality.
Hagia Sophia, the ancient Christian cathedral in Istanbul, was reconverted in 2020 to a mosque in a political move by Erdogan. Originally built by the Eastern Roman emperor Justinian I between 532 and 537 as the Christian cathedral of Constantinople and designed by the Greek architects Isidore of Miletus and Anthemius of Tralles, Hagia Sophia was used as a Muslim house of worship after the conquest of Constantinople by the Ottoman army in 1453.
Nearly five centuries later, in 1934, it was converted by a government decree into a "Memorial Museum," and was declared part of UNESCO World Heritage Site In 1985.
The prayer of gratitude is usually performed by Muslims when a malady has been overcome, or when something great has been achieved.