With the presence of Vice President Fuat Oktay and hosted by the Governor of Istanbul Ali Yerlikaya, an iftar program was held with the attendance of spiritual leaders and consuls general.
Vice President Fuat Oktay, Istanbul Governor Ali Yerlikaya, Istanbul Representative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Ambassador Murat Tamer, Deputy Governor Özlem Bozkurt Gevrek, spiritual leaders, consuls general, provincial and district protocol and representatives of relevant institutions attended the iftar program held at Çırağan Palace Kempinski.
In the program that started with the Quran recitation of Eyüpsultan Mosque Imam Erhan Mete and the iftar prayer before iftar, Provincial Mufti Prof. Dr. Safi Arpagus prayed before meal.
Then, Vice President Oktay and Governor Yerlikaya delivered speeches to the participants.
“Istanbul is a Dream City where temples of different faiths exist together”
In his speech, Vice President Oktay stated as follows: "I am so glad to share our iftar joy with you in Istanbul, in the meeting point of continents, cultures and beliefs. I would like to start my speech by conveying the most heartfelt greetings of our President, Mr. Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to each of you. Ramadan came again with its good message that gives peace to hearts and consciences. Our houses rejoiced for this blessed guest and our temples were decorated for this beautiful meeting."
Expressing that the iftars were a bit sour in the last two years due to the pandemic, Vice President Oktay continued as follows: "Praise be to Allah, this Ramadan our iftar tables have turned into circles of brotherhood and sisterhood and we can fully feel the Ramadan climate this year. I would like to thank all our guests who shared our iftar joy and help us to relive the spirit of unity and solidarity of Ramadan, for accepting our invitation, and I congratulate our Governorship of Istanbul, especially Governor Yerlikaya, for hosting this event."
Vice President Oktay stated as follows: "Istanbul, which shines like a jewel in the history of humanity, is a dream city where temples of different faiths have been existing together for centuries. It is a unique source of inspiration for the culture of coexistence. Here, mosques, churches and synagogues have risen side by side on the same street for centuries. Today, we see our nation's civilization journey as a solid bridge stretching from the past to the present. We try to carry the treasure we received from the past to the future under the leadership of our President. We establish our policies with inspiration from the past."
Vice President Oktay continued his speech as follows: "Today, different ethnic and religious groups live together in harmony in Turkey. Let's appreciate the atmosphere of this harmony that brings us together at this iftar table today and which we observe in our daily lives all the time. I wish our unity, togetherness and solidarity to be permanent. I hope the Ramadan climate will spread to the rest of the year."
"Our Iftar Tables Are Also the Table of Our Hearts"
Governor Yerlikaya, starting his speech by expressing his happiness at being together in the spiritual climate of Ramadan stated as follows: "The blessed month of Ramadan, the month in which our Holy Book, the Holy Quran, was revealed, has a very special place in both our faith and hearts as Muslims. We fast for a month in Ramadan. We call it 'the sultan of 11 months'. We help those who lost their way, those who are in trouble, the poor and those in need. We share our bread. We share our iftar joys. Because our iftar tables are also the tables of our hearts."
Stating that Istanbul is the ancient center of respect for people and faith, Governor Yerlikaya continued as follows: "This is Istanbul… With its seven hills, it has embraced and surrounded not only our city, but also everyone regardless of their religion or nationality. Istanbulites have been celebrating their neighbor's holy days with respect and congratulating each other. We are fulfilling our responsibility, and we will continue to do so, to properly protect the cultural and religious heritage of our Istanbul, the symbol of love, harmony and peace. In the coming days, we will experience the Passover of our Jewish citizens and the Easter of our Christian citizens. I'd like to take this opportunity to congratulate the Passover of our Jewish citizens and the Easter holidays of our Christian citizens."
Emphasizing that the culture of coexistence in Istanbul will form the basis of peace and harmony today, as in the past, Governor Yerlikaya continued as follows: "It will be our most important power that will carry us to a bright future. I hope these holy days will be an opportunity for the suffering in different geographies to come to an end and for humanity to meet in peace and tranquility."
Wishing that the blessed month of Ramadan will be instrumental in the peace, tranquility and salvation of all humanity, Governor Yerlikaya continued his speech as follows: "I would like to express my gratitude to our Vice President for honoring our table with his presence this evening. I would like to thank the esteemed leaders of the religious communities who accepted our invitation, the consulate general and diplomatic representatives in Istanbul once again."