Erdoğan to reopen historic Bulgarian Church in Istanbul on Jan 7
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan will reopen a 120-year-old Bulgarian Church in Istanbul on Jan. 7.
According to a statement issued by the Presidential Press Office on Jan. 6, Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov will also be present during the ceremony in Balat district of the city.
The orthodox church, also known as St. Stephen Church, is located in the historic Balat neighborhood on the shore of the city's Golden Horn.
It had been undergoing major restoration works for the last seven years, in a project co-funded by the Istanbul metropolitan municipality and the Bulgarian government.
It was rebuilt in 1898 from prefabricated cast iron elements after its former wooden structure caught fire.
Speaking to Anadolu Agency ahead of his scheduled visit, the Bulgarian Prime Minister Borisov said the reopening of the Bulgarian church had proven there can be friendship, mutual understanding, and goodwill between the Muslim and Christian countries.
"I think this [the renovation of the church] happened because of the mutual goodwill and common spirit that we are trying to build in the Balkans," Borisov said.
Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality financed the restoration which cost 16 million Turkish liras ($4 million). The Bulgarian government contributed one million Turkish liras ($253,000) to the project.
On the basis of reciprocity principle, the Bulgarian government gave permission to restore the Friday (Cuma) Mosque in Plovdiv city while the Turkish government enabled the restoration of the Iron Church.