President Erdoğan meets Armenian patriarch in Istanbul
ISTANBUL- Anadolu Agency
The Turkish leader and his spouse Emine Erdoğan went to to the Kumkapı Mother Mary Armenian Church to bid farewell to the deceased lawmaker of the ruling AKP, Markar Esayan.
Before the religious ceremony, Erdoğan and Mashalian went to the Armenian Patriarchate of Turkey, which was founded in 1461 upon the instructions of Mehmet the Conqueror, for a meeting.
The president was accompanied by Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu, Justice Minister Abdulhamit Gül, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca, Culture and Tourism Minister Mehmet Nuri Ersoy, Communications Director Fahrettin Altun, as
well as several party officials.
Following about half an hour meeting, Erdoğan went back to the Mother Mary Armenian Church, where the ritual was held for Esayan, who passed away last Friday at age 51.
Esayan was a former journalist and became a member of parliament representing Istanbul for the AK Party in 2015.
He is the author of five books that were published from 2005-2015.
'Turkey to continue to back local Armenian community'
"As it was until today, so it shall be that we will continue to support the [local] Armenian community, which is an important color of richness that makes Turkey strong," Erdoğan said while attending the funeral.
"When we remember Markar, love for this country and nation comes to our mind, the same as to everyone else. The whole life of our friend with a beautiful heart was spent by supporting the efforts to strengthen Turkey's democracy, development of rights and freedom, the country's development, growth and strengthening," the president said.