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Erdogan says first prayers in Hagia Sophia on July 24

ANKARA, July 10 (Reuters) - The first prayers will be held in Turkey’s Hagia Sophia on July 24, President Tayyip Erdogan said on Friday, after declaring the ancient monument was once again a mosque following a court ruling revoking its status as a museum.

Erdogan said the nearly 1,500-year-old Hagia Sophia would remain open to Muslims, Christians and foreigners, but added that Turkey had exercised its sovereign right in converting it to a mosque and would interpret criticism of the move as an attack on its independence. (Reporting by Ece Toksabay and Jonathan Spicer; Editing by Dominic Evans)

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