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International relations

Hagia Sophia holds first Friday prayers since conversion into mosque

Erdogan recites scripture to the faithful in face of international criticism

Worshippers attend prayers Friday at the Hagia Sophia, now a grand mosque after having served 86 years as a museum.   © Reuters

ISTANBUL -- Museum-turned-mosque Hagia Sophia held its first prayer service here Friday with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan among the hundreds inside the World Heritage site.

Erdogan recited from the Quran before the start of prayers, while imagery of Jesus and the Virgin Mary on the apse was covered.

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