President, PM deliver Christmas messages

President, PM deliver Christmas messages

President, PM deliver Christmas messages

A woman walks past by a store selling New Year and Christmas ornaments in Istanbul, Turkey, December 22, 2015. REUTERS/Murad Sezer

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan issued a statement on Dec. 23 to celebrate the Christmas addressing Christian citizens in Turkey, Doğan News Agency reported.

“Anatolia has always been a site of refuge for whoever fleeing conflict and violence. I sincerely celebrate the Christmas festivity of our Christian citizens,” Erdoğan said in his message. Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu also wished Christians a festive Christmas holiday.

The state-run Anadolu Agency quoted Davutoğlu as saying “I celebrate the Christmas festivity of our Christian citizens and all Christians who contribute to our social life and with whom we live in peace, brotherhood and tolerance” in a message released by the Prime Ministry’s Press Office late Dec. 23.

Davutoğlu highlighted the fact that the Anatolian soil had hosted the best examples of “co-existent cultures” throughout its history, as a cradle of several civilizations. “With the historical understanding we inherited, we - then and now - regard our citizens from different beliefs, opinions and cultures as [sources of] richness for our country, and appreciate that they embellish our social life,” he added.

The premier added that they wished to live in unity and solidarity with groups of different beliefs and culture who, he said, had lived together for ages on the same soil and shared the same destiny in the future as well. Davutoğlu also wished 2016 would bring peace and happiness to all citizens.