Turkish president hails 9th International Conquest Cup participants
'Today we repeat epic we wrote with our archers in past, with our drones, software, production, exports,' says Erdogan
Marking the 568th anniversary of the conquest of Istanbul, the Turkish president on Saturday expressed his gratitude to the youth who competed in the 9th International Conquest Cup organized by the Archers Foundation and took care of Turkey's traditional sports branches.
"Today, with our drones, our software, our production and our exports, we repeat the epic we wrote with our archers in the past," Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in a video message broadcast at 8.53 p.m. (1753GMT), the time which corresponds to Turkey's 2053 milestone that refers to the 600th anniversary of Istanbul's Ottoman conquest from the Byzantine Empire.
Erdogan also expressed his gratitude to every member of the "blessed army" that conquered Istanbul, especially Mehmed the Conqueror, who made it an "eternal city" of the nation.
"Just as a tree whose ties with its roots has been severed cannot survive, a society that is disconnected from its roots in belief and culture cannot survive for a long time," Erdogan said, adding that he expects the youth to be engaged in traditional sports and arts such as archery, horse riding, swordsmanship, calligraphy, ornamentation, and all kinds of modern social and cultural activities with this understanding.
"We show that we are protecting the heritage of our ancestors by reopening Hagia Sophia for worship last year, putting the Grand Camlica Mosque into service the previous year, and performing the first Friday prayer at the Taksim Mosque yesterday," he said.
In the past, Hagia Sophia served as a church for 916 years and 86 years as a museum, but most of its existence -- 1453 to 1934, nearly 500 years -- it spent as a mosque, a status it resumed last year.
The foundations of the Taksim Mosque, which bears the signatures of architects Sefik Birkiye and Selim Dalaman, were laid on Feb. 17, 2017 in the popular Taksim Square. It can host a congregation of up to 4,000 people and boasts a parking area, as well as conference and exhibition halls.
The 63,000-capacity Grand Camlica Mosque, the foundation of which was laid in 2013 on Camlica Hill on the Asian side of Istanbul, has become one of the symbols of the city with its Ottoman-Seljuk architectural style.
Earlier, Communications Director Fahrettin Altun on Twitter said Istanbul will celebrate its holiday "with all its splendor."
Altun said that following Erdogan's message the celebrations will continue with the recitation of the 48th chapter of the Muslim holy book of Quran, Surah Al-Fath -- meaning Victory or Triumph -- in Hagia Sophia, and the sky mapping show that will be tried for the first time at Galata Tower and Hagia Sophia Mosque.Anadolu Agency website contains only a portion of the news stories offered to subscribers in the AA News Broadcasting System (HAS), and in summarized form. Please contact us for subscription options.