Senior Turkish officials meet minority representatives
ISTANBUL- Anadolu Agency
Senior Turkish officials met on Nov. 29 with the spiritual leaders of minority communities and representatives of minority foundations.
Fener Greek Patriarch Bartholomew; Archbishop Sahak Mashalian, the 85th Armenian Patriarch of Turkey; Yusuf Çetin, the metropolitan bishop of the Istanbul-Syriac Church; and Ishak Haleva, Chief Rabbi of the Jewish community in Turkey, were present at the meeting held in the Dolmabahce presidential working office.
Following the meeting, which lasted for three hours, Justice Minister Abdulhamid Gül and Presidential Spokesman Ibrahim Kalın spoke to the Turkish media.
Gül said they had an important and efficient consultation meeting with representatives of the minority communities, adding important steps were taken under the leadership of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan during AKP governments for 18 years.
“Especially in 2008, we have seen once again that all the steps taken after and before the regulations on foundations have yielded very important results in removing the obstacles in front of minorities,” Gül said.
He went on to say that suggestions regarding property rights, the right to education, and the right to organize were discussed at the productive meeting.
Noting that the ruling AKP demonstrated an approach to increase freedom for all citizens, Gül said they also addressed further steps against hate crimes.
Kalın also said they had a very productive meeting with the spiritual leaders and representatives.
He said members of the minority communities, who could not find any addressees in the state before, are now accepted and addressed at the highest authorities of the state.
“As you know, with the Endowments Law enacted in 2008, a historical, revolutionary change took place and the properties and immovables which belonged to foundations were returned to them.”
He added that some specific issues related to churches, schools, and properties that are on the agenda of the minority representatives were also discussed at the meeting.
“It is extremely important that we fight against hate crimes and discrimination with a single voice, especially at a time when both anti-Islamism, anti-Semitism and anti-Christianity are on the rise all over the world,” he said.
“We have stated here once again that there is no legal or humanitarian basis to condemn, accuse or make anyone an object of hate, regardless of their religious identity, because of their religion, ethnic identity or belief.”