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Turkey: Hundreds call for reopening of Hagia Sophia as mosque

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A large group of devoted Muslims gathered in front of Hagia Sophia (also known as Ayasofya Muzesi) in Istanbul on Friday, to hold prayers and demand that the historical building, which is now a museum, returns to its former function as a mosque.

The Hagia Sophia was constructed in the sixth century as a Christian Byzantine Church but was transformed into a mosque, when Ottoman forces under Mehmet II conquered Constantinople, as Istanbul used to be called, in 1453. It was then turned into a museum in 1935 by modern Turkey's secular founders.

The protest was organised on the 84 anniversary of Hagia Sophia's conversion into a museum.

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