Director of Communications Fahrettin Altun said, "Anatolia, where different faiths, ethnic groups, cultures and languages peacefully coexisted for a thousand years, showed the world what fraternity really means. We share one history and one common future –our joys and sorrows. May our fraternity live for thousands of years!”
On his Twitter account, Altun shared the Hatay part of video series that was prepared by the Directorate of Communications, describing the culture of coexistence of citizens from the Jewish, Greek, Armenian, Assyrian communities in Turkey with Muslim communities.
Antakya Catholic Church Priest Domenico Bertogli, whose views are included in the video, stated that the name "Christian" originated in Antakya.
Stating that he has been living in a Sunni neighbourhood for years, Bertogli said, "We have never had any problems, we live together respecting and loving each other. We celebrate three or four feasts. When Christians, Sunnis, Alawis and Jews celebrate their feast, we join them. For instance, especially during the Easter, we perform rituals together.”
Antakya Jewish Synagogue Foundation Member Harun Cemal said, “We live in the same place. This is a synagogue, a place of worship. Right in front of us, there is Sarımiye Mosque. It’s a very old mosque. Interestingly, there is a Catholic church next to this mosque. It is unprecedented in the world that a Catholic Church is adjacent to a mosque. This is special to this place. It astonishes everyone.”
Stressing that the Jews, Christians and Muslims have been living together brotherly for thousands of years, Cemal said, "We have absorbed very well the culture of living fraternally."
Pointing out that Antakya would be understood not by telling but by living, Cemal commented, "You have to come and see my face-to-face dialogue with people here. You have to see the attitude, love, respect, and thoughtfulness that those people have towards me. Only then will you say ‘This is Antakya. This is Hatay’."
Saint Georgios Greek Orthodox Church Priest Bedii Cebrail Kuşoğlu noted the following:
"Thank God, we are proud to be in our Antakya, a multicultural city of civilizations. Our neighbourhood relations are extremely good. We rejoice together, we sorrow together, we have fun together."
Stating that the church was a sacred place dating back to 1700 years, Kuşoğlu said, "Compositionally, our church consists of 360-370 households. In July and August, the number of households in our neighbourhood add up to over 700 households."
"There is no distinction between us"
Sarımiye Mosque Imam Muzaffer Talay said, “Since we have a diversity of religions here, there is no distinction between us. Everyone performs their own religious duties within the framework of respect and love for each other. They come to visit us during our feasts and we visit them on their feasts.”
Underlining that good changes and innovations have been made for foundations and religious minorities for the last 15 years, religious representatives indicated that their requests have never been rejected and there has certainly been positive improvements.
Saint Georgios Greek Orthodox Church Priest Bedii Kuşoğlu added that the local media channels in Antakya have discovered those beautiful changes and made a program called "Adhan-Bell-Hazzan."