17 April 2014, Thursday
Today's Zaman

Davutoğlu reaches out to Turkey's non-Muslim leaders at weekend tour

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4 March 2012, Sunday /TODAY'S ZAMAN
Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu on Saturday paid courtesy visits to religious leaders in İstanbul to contribute to the continuation of religious peace in the Balkans, Middle East and elsewhere.

Within this frame, Davutoğlu received Deyrulzafaran Monastery Metropolitan Saliba Özmen at the Four Seasons Hotel in İstanbul. During the meeting with Özmen, Davutoğlu stressed the importance Turkey attached to dialogue in surrounding countries.

Davutoğlu later visited Greek Patriarch Bartholomew I. Speaking to reporters after the visit, Davutoğlu said that it was their main principle to see all religious communities sharing a common cultural life in peace.

Bartholomew I, on his part, said that they were pleased with Davutoğlu's visit. “We told Minister Davutoğlu that we pray for the health of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan daily. Erdoğan's health is important not only for Turkey but for global peace as well,” Bartholomew I said.

Davutoğlu also visited the patriarchal vicar of the Syriac Orthodox Church of Turkey, Mor Filiksinos Yusuf Çetin, Syriac Catholic church leader Chorepiscopus Yusuf Sağ, and İshak Haleva, the chief rabbi of Turkey's Jewish community.

Talking to reporters before visiting Çetin at the Church of the Virgin Mary (Meryem ana) Davutoğlu underlined the importance of the Syriac tradition within cultural history. Commenting on the equal rights of Syriac citizens in the context of today's modern state, Davutoğlu noted that they are entitled to benefit from the comprehensive manner of religious freedom. Davutoğlu also expressed his belief that the Syriac community will pay a huge contribution to regional peace and stability. Talking about the contributions Syriacs have made to the religion of Islam during the meeting with Davutoğlu, Çetin said, “We love this country. Both during the Ottoman Empire and after the establishment of the Turkish republic we sided with our state [Turkey].” Çetin also said that Syriacs s living abroad make significant efforts for Turkey and see themselves as a part of the country.

During the foreign minister's visit to the Syriac Catholic church the importance of the inter-religious dialogue was emphasized. Both sides called for joint work in assisting Muslims and Christians in the Middle East to live in peace.

Visiting the Chief Rabbinate in the evening hours because of Shabbat, the Jewish day of rest, Davutoğlu again mentioned the importance of inter-religious dialogue and said that Jewish citizens are an essential element in Turkey.

Davutoğlu also paid visits to Armenian Deputy Patriarch of Turkey Aram Ateshyan. Davutoğlu said that in the future all prejudices will be left beyond, and a stable peace will be established both in Turkey and in the Caucasus. Davutoğlu stated that one of the main elements is to establish mutual understanding among religious communities and to transfer this to the political sphere. Patriarch Ateshyan said that until the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) came to power in Turkey, no ministers or deputies in the country knew the way to the Patriarchate. Representing the Armenian community living in Turkey as an integral part of the country, Ateshyan said, “If Armenians are deported from Turkey, one of Turkey's two legs will be crippled.”

@DutchTurk The The Patriarch of Constantinople has been a long time before a single Turk stepped foot inside Anatolia. The Ecumenical Patriarch is the symbolic head and leader of the ENTIRE Orthodox world. No Turk government has the right to deny him his title. Turkey is the ONLY place where his ti...
God Bless the Aramean people! Let turkey recognize the Arameans first!
What Davutoglu says, what the AKP thinks, is of no relevance to me, a Gavur. While the AKP is certainly the best POSSIBLE government towards minorities, the real test is how Turkey treats ARMENIA not Turkish Armenians. It is cheap to appease 40 thousand frightened people in country of 85 million. A...
Jack Kalpakian
Despite all the problems that we have with Turks I think this government (Mr. Gul, Erdogan, Davutoglu) are the best leaders for Turkey ever.
@BBBB, There is no such thing as Ecumenical Patriarch on Turkish Muslim land, there is Fener Rum Patrikhanesi. Look we call them Rum, by ethnicity, but i don't think you can have an Ecumenical Patriarch on Muslim land, start it in Athens or so. Turkey is the one to decide how to call it and it lost ...
I do not believe a word Mr. Davutoglu says. If Turkey has no ill will towards Armenians, it would have a very different policy towards Armenia. He can go pave the sea for all I carse.
Jack Kalpakian
Headlines Don't Make Sence: Turkish TV viewers upset most by hate speech and discrimination on screen., And Davutoğlu reaches out to Turkey's non-Muslim leaders at weekend tour,
@DutchTurk No, his rightful title is ECUMENICAL PATRIARCH. This is his title as the LEADER of the entire Orthodox world. Also, if you don't like the muslims in Thrace being called Greek Muslims, you shouldn't have agreed to it in the treaty. But then again, when have the blood thirsty and wretched ...
Good progress, good talk. Turkey will be global power in 25 years.InshaAllah
Nicely said, Dutch Turk.
DutchTurk, I think you are right. Also their official titles, used by them and as well as the Turkish state should say so: "Turkish Patriarch Bartholomew" and "Turkish Orthodox Christians." There is no Greek Orthodox Church in Turkiye; but there is Turkish Orthodox church in Turkiye. All the Greek O...
david coors
Its not greek either dt its ecumenical as for the muslims of greece they are not all turks so why label all of then turks?
Mr DutchTurk you are right but you forgot to tell us what the Lausanne Treaty cleary states.Greek orthodox in Constantinople,the name of the city at that time,and in the islands of Imvros,Tenedos.In the other side in Western Thrace speaks about muslim minority.So,each individual has the right to cal...
The article meant to say, 'Greek Orthodox Patriarch' and not 'Greek Patriarch'. He is obviously a citizen of Turkey, has served in the Turkish Army during his required military service and his loyalty to Turkey should not be called into question. These meetings are good news, but much more important...
Not, "Greek" Patriarch Bartholomew I, but "Turkish" Patriarch Bartholomew I. Just how Greece bans the word "Turkish" or "Turk" for the organisations and associations of the Turkish minority in Western Thrace. Turkey should do the same for the word Greek in Turkey. Apparently that is good enough to j...
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