President Erdoğan extends Hanukkah greetings to Turkey’s Jews

President Erdoğan extends Hanukkah greetings to Turkey’s Jews

President Erdoğan extends Hanukkah greetings to Turkey’s Jews

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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has extended holiday greetings to the country’s Jewish citizens on the occasion of Hanukkah, which began Dec. 16.

In a written statement, Erdoğan wished Turkey’s Jews tranquility, peace, happiness and health for the holiday.

“I extend my warmest Hanukkah holiday greetings to our Jewish citizens. We see the variety in our social, cultural and humane structure as the foremost richness that has brought Turkey to what it is today, reinforced our unity and togetherness, and enhanced our solidarity and dialogue,” read a part of Erdoğan’s written statement.

Erdoğan said Turkey would carefully preserve its rich cultural and historical heritage, while highlighting that Turkey’s Jewish citizens were “the fundamental elements of Turkey.”

“Our Jewish citizens, which we embraced during history’s hardest and most sad periods and with which we have lived in unity, harmony and reciprocal respect for centuries in these lands, in the cradle of civilization of Anatolia, are unquestionably the fundamental elements of Turkey,” said Erdoğan.

Hanukkah, also known as the “Festival of Lights,” commemorates the rededication of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem at the time of the Maccabean Revolt in the second century B.C. This year Hanukkah will be celebrated between Dec. 16 and Dec. 24.

Reforms implemented over the last 12 years have been designed to ensure that all citizens can live their culture, traditions and beliefs as equal individuals and without being exposed to discrimination based on religion, language, race, ethnicity and belief, Erdoğan said.

Meanwhile, Istanbul Mayor Kadir Topbaş also sent a letter to the chief rabbi of the Jewish Community of Turkey, İshak Haleva, expressing his holiday greetings for Hanukkah.

“Religious holidays are in a way the most important social dynamics that make the society stand. In another way, they are the best days that remind us to share, cooperate and tolerate while living in peace all together,” read a part of Topbaş’ statement.