Turkish president celebrates conquest of Istanbul

Mon 29 May 2017 01:37 GMT | 05:37 Local Time

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The Turkish president marked the 564th anniversary of Istanbul's conquest by an Ottoman sultan on Sunday.


In a statement to mark the anniversary of the conquest by the Ottoman Sultan Mehmed II, Recep Tayyip Erdogan said: “Istanbul, which had been a capital for different states and cultures since its foundation, has become the center of peaceful coexistence and tolerance under the fair rule of Fatih Sultan Mehmed [also known as Mehmed the Conqueror].”

“The conquest of Istanbul, which is regarded as one of the most important milestones of world history in terms of its social, cultural and political consequences, is a victory full of lessons for us and for all humanity,” Erdogan said, according to Anadolu Agency.

In addition, Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim issued a statement to mark the anniversary of Istanbul's conquest.

“The conquest of Istanbul has set a new direction for the world history in terms of political, social and cultural consequences,” Yildirim said.

Speaking at the 564th anniversary event of Istanbul's conquest by an Ottoman sultan on Sunday in Istanbul, Erdogan said Istanbul was the outline of Turkey.

"Istanbul is the outline of Turkey. All of Turkey's 80 provinces have human and physical connections with Istanbul. In this sense, to speak about Istanbul means to speak about Turkey. To serve Istanbul means to serve Turkey," the president said.

"Now it is a fact that while Ankara is the capital of Turkey, İzmir is the capital of the Aegean, and cities like Antalya and Mugla are tourism brands, Istanbul is the showcase of our country. The more beautiful this showcase is, the more glamorous it becomes, the more profitable Turkey becomes," he added.

"When I speak about Istanbul I am actually talking about Turkey. If people come for trade or visit, Istanbul is the first contact for those who come to our country," he said.

"I hope that in the coming period we will endeavor to take important steps towards important projects. We will do all of this together with you," he added.

"We will quickly complete the efforts that will prevent terrorist organizations, especially FETO, Daesh and PKK, from extending the damages they did to this city," he said.

Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim also spoke at the event.

"All elements of the Ottoman Empire that lived in friendship in this territory live in the same peacefulness today in the Republic of Turkey. As it was seen in history, those who want to ruin this peaceful climate will face disappointment," he said.

On May 29, 1453, Sultan Mehmed II conquered Istanbul, then called Constantinople, from where the Byzantines had ruled the Eastern Roman Empire for more than 1,000 years.

The conquest transformed the city, once the heart of the Byzantine realm, into the capital of the new Ottoman Empire.

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