Turkey's presidential spokesperson Kalın meets with religious minority leaders

Turkey's presidential spokesperson Kalın meets with religious minority leaders

Eyüp Serbest - ISTANBUL

Turkish presidential spokesperson İbrahim Kalın met with the community leaders of religious minorities on Aug. 1 at the Dolmabahçe Presidential Office in Istanbul. 

“This is the best answer that can be given to those trying to conduct black propaganda against Turkey in the United States, Europe, evangelist groups, and other networks. I hope they do not close their eyes and ears to this message,” said Kalın following the four-hour meeting.

The meeting came after the representatives of religious communities denied claims their groups were facing oppression and stressed they were practicing their religions freely.

“Statements alleging and suggesting there is oppression toward us are completely unfounded and injudicious,” the communities said in a joint statement on July 31, signed by representatives of 18 religious minority groups.

“An important development was the joint declaration that religious communities released yesterday. I had an opportunity to convey our President’s [Recep Tayyip Erdoğan] thanks regarding the declaration [to the leaders of religious communities at the meeting]. And they have similarly extended their thanks and greetings,” said Kalın regarding this statement.

The meeting was attended by many names, including Fener Greek Orthodox Patriarch Dimitri Bartholomew, Armenian Patriarchate of Istanbul Archbishop Aram Ateşyan, and Chief Rabbi of the Turkish Jewish Community Ishak Haleva, Patriarchal Vicar of the Syriac Orthodox Church Mor Filiksinos Yusuf Çetin, Apostolic Administrator of the Armenian Archeparchy of Istanbul Archbishop Levon Zekiyan, and Chaldean Catholic Community spiritual leader François Yakan.