Hagia Sophia becomes a site of celebration as Turks mark Erdogan’s triumph

Turkish President Celebrates Election Victory with Supporters in Hagia Sophia

The Gathering

A large number of supporters of the Turkish president gathered at dawn on Monday, May 29, 2023, in the Hagia Sophia in central Istanbul to celebrate the dawn prayer, in response to Turkish Interior Minister Suleiman Soylu’s invitation.

The Election Victory

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan won a new term on Sunday, May 28, after obtaining more than 52% of the vote in the second round of presidential elections against which opposition candidate Kemal Kilicdaroglu competed, and in also coincides with the anniversary of the conquest of Istanbul.

The Celebration and Prayers

The media Turks said on Monday that Interior Minister Suleiman Soylu performed morning prayers at the Hagia Sophia mosque on the 570th anniversary of the conquest of Istanbul, and indicated that religious affairs chief Ali Arbash led the faithful in the dawn prayer. Despite the morning rain, citizens came to the Hagia Sophia mosque to pray. The head of religious affairs gave a short speech after the prayer and said, “We always try to fill the Hagia Sophia mosque, because believers need it. We have to kneel together, stand together, prostrate together.” Ali Erbaş added, addressing the faithful: “Dear brothers and sisters, today, on the 570th anniversary of the invasion, we celebrated morning prayer together in the Hagia Sophia Mosque, which for us is the anniversary of the conquest. May God you accept it.”

The Election Results

The Supreme Election Commission in Turkey announced on Sunday evening, May 28, that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has officially won a new term, after more than 99% of the boxes were sorted. The head of the Supreme Election Commission, Ahmed Yanar, said in press conference: “President Erdogan obtained 52.14% and Kilicdaroglu 47.86%, with 99.43% of the ballots counted”.

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