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ntvmsnbc: Turkish leaders send Christmas messages

December 24— Turkey has for centuries gained strength from the co-existence it of Muslim, Christian and Jewish citizens, President Ahmet Necdet Sezer said in his Christmas message.

Describing Turkey as one of the cradles of civilisation, including Christianity, the President said the country was hopeful for the future thanks to its deeply rooted traditions of peaceful co-existence.

“I am pleased to share our Christian citizens’ enthusiasm of Christmas,” Sezer said. “On this very special occasion, I want to say that we have made great progress in bringing our citizens’ fundamental rights and freedoms to the utmost level and making their future more secure as a result of the determined steps taken in 2003 for the integration of our country with Europe.”

In his Christmas message Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoan said he shared the feelings of love, solidarity and tolerance that were the common values of humanity on the day which celebrated the birth of Jesus Christ.

“I celebrate Christmas day for all Christian Turkish citizens and the Christian of the world,” he said.

Christmas was a sacred and meaningful day that reminded people to have love and tolerance by overcoming offences and misunderstandings, Parliamentary Speaker Bulent Arnç said in his Christmas message.

“I congratulate the sacred Christmas Day of our Christian citizens and all Christian people,” he said.

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