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Turkey’s mosques to open June 12: report

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The head of Turkey’s top religious body, the Diyanet, announced on Friday that mosques would be open for communal prayers starting from June 12 after a three-month hiatus due to the coronavirus outbreak, the pro-government Daily Sabah reported.

“While prioritizing our health, I hope we will be able to return to our mosques as soon as possible,” Diyanet President Ali Erbaş said on a TV program.

However, he added that it did not appear to be possible for now to allow Eid prayers, a special congregational prayer on the morning of the Eid al-Fitr, also urging people to limit their visits to relatives over the holiday.

After Eid al-Fitr, Friday prayers will take place at mosques, he said.

On March 16 the Diyanet announced a nationwide ban on prayer gatherings, including Friday prayers, in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.

Mosques have remained open to people who want to perform daily prayers individually.

As of Thursday 4,007 people had died of COVID-19 in Turkey, while the total number of confirmed cases stands at 144,749 with 104,030 recoveries.

Turkey has not imposed a stringent nationwide lockdown since reporting its first positive case on March 11, resorting instead to weekend curfews in 31 provinces and cities. It also limited travel between those cities.

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