A few months after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s provocative decision to turn the historic Hagia Sophia into a mosque, Turkish authorities are provoking once more by placing it at the center of one of Islam’s most important times of the year.
As reported by megatv.com, the period of fasting for Muslims in Turkey began with a prayer by the muezzin from the minaret and a wish for a good Ramadan placed in the dome of the Hagia Sophia.
Although the pandemic is raging in Turkey, dozens of worshipers have gathered inside the temple and attended the first prayer for the start of the holiest month for Muslims in 87 years.
The imam was the only one without a mask among the faithful, who sat in predetermined places to ensure safe distances.
Prayer in Hagia Sophia was offered while most mosques in Turkey remained closed. Hours earlier, health authorities announced nearly 60,000 new cases in a single day, a record number since the start of the pandemic.
Erdogan, who since the beginning of the crisis has been trying to avoid the closure of major urban centers due to the economic consequences, was forced to announce new, stricter measures yesterday.
In the next two weeks, the Turks must forget the traditional Ramadan iftar dinners as the night traffic ban will start at 7 instead of 9 pm. To avoid overcrowding, mass prayers, all social events, and travel to other areas are prohibited.