President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan evaluated the decision of the Council of State regarding Hagia Sophia in his Address to the Nation at 20:53.
Recalling that the Council of State repealed the Cabinet Decree No. 1934 allowing Hagia Sophia to be converted from a mosque to a museum, Erdoğan stated that they had reopened Hagia Sophia as a mosque under the presidential decree issued on that basis. Erdoğan said, “Hagia Sophia will thus be able to start serving as a mosque after 86 years, as stated in the endowment of Fatih Sultan Mehmet. I wish this decision to be beneficial to our nation, the ummah, and all humanity.”
Stating that the Ministry of Culture and Tourism immediately began to work on the administrative and technical preparations, while the Presidency of Religious Affairs on the religious aspects of the issue, Erdoğan said, “We are abolishing the entrance fee to the Hagia Sophia Mosque with the annulment of its museum status. Like all our mosques, the doors of Hagia Sophia will be wide open to locals and foreigners, Muslims and non-Muslims. Thanks to its new status, Hagia Sophia, the common heritage of humanity, will continue to embrace everyone more sincerely and uniquely. By completing the preparations swiftly, we plan to open Hagia Sophia to worship as of July 24, 2020, with the Friday prayer.”
Erdoğan stated that it would be best not to rush to visit and see the mosque until July 24, so that the works in the mosque could be carried out quickly and the preparations could be completed as soon as possible. President Erdoğan said “Since, according to some news I have received, it is not right to come and take pictures inside and outside of the mosque, and to crowd therein. With the permission of Allah, we will perform our Friday prayers here on July 24 and open Hagia Sophia to worship, which will be fully completed in every aspect that day.”