Non-Muslim communities join fraternal Şişli iftar
ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
Şişli Mayor Mustafa Sarıgül (C) welcomes visitors during an ‘iftar’ meal organized by the Municipality and the Anadolu Kültür foundation.Some 600 people, including Jews, Greek and Armenian Turks came together for an iftar dinner organized by the Şişli Municipality and the Anadolu Kültür foundation.
The “iftar” (fast-breaking) dinner that took place on July 11 in Istanbul’s Şişli neighborhood, where minorities constitute most of the inhabitants, was a “dinner of abundance, friendship, brotherhood,” according to Mustafa Sarıgül, the mayor of Şişli.
“We are all together without differentiating between religions, languages, races,” Sarıgül told the Hürriyet Daily News, while adding that their iftar dinner was the best example of uniting for a better, happier and more peaceful future.
The preparations for the iftar dinner started early in the morning on the third day of Ramadan, which lasts for one month, and tables along the side streets of Şişli were set up to accommodate 660 people. Armenians, Jews, Greeks – minorities in Turkey – and Turks were among the guests to sit around the tables for the dinner catered by the Şişli Municipality and the Anadolu Kültür foundation.
Tradition lives on
Among the participants at the iftar dinner was 54-year-old Maryam, of Armenian origin, who said that the tables belonged to the Turkish nation as a whole and thanked the mayor for making such an event possible. Melahat Sarıtop, another guest, aged 83, said that these brotherhood tables were a tradition and she was happy to see it being kept alive.
The 80-year-old Ali Yıldız said that the tables were not only tables of brotherhood but also of fruitfulness. “I am incredibly happy to be a part of it,” Yıldız said.