- mayor's office
The Beşiktaş Municipality organized a meaningful New Year Gathering at the Four Seasons Hotel Istanbul at the Bosphorus in Beşiktaş on Monday, December 2, 2019, as a first of an annual event that is planned to be turned into a tradition from this year on, bringing together many different segments of the society. The event, hosted by the Beşiktaş Mayor Mr. Rıza Akpolat and his spouse Mrs. Derya Akpolat, was attended by the religious leaders including the Fener Greek Patriarch Bartholomeos, Turkey's Armenian Catholic Community Archbishop Levon Zekiyan, Syriac Orthodox Community's Metropolitan Mor Filüksinos Yusuf Çetin, General Vicar of the Armenian Patriarch of Turkey Aram Ateşyan, Turkey's Armenian Patriarchate Assembly Speaker Priest Tatul Anuşyan, Rav Yeuda Adoni in representation of the Chief Rabbinate of Turkey, the Deputy Patriarch of the Turkish Syriac Catholic Church Orhan Çanlı, Spiritual Leader of the Chaldean Church Monseigneur Ramzi Garmou; the representatives from religious foundations and communities resident in Turkey, as well as the consul generals, honorary consuls and other mission representatives of about 60 countries.
At this meaningful event held in Beşiktaş, a district that has been home to many different cultures with tolerance throughout the history, all the spiritual leaders and opinion leaders speaking at the event shared messages peace, social unity and fellowship for the whole region and world in the New Year.
Giving the opening speech, the Beşiktaş Mayor Mr. Rıza Akpolat said, “Turks, Armenians and Jewish communities with different cultures and beliefs have lived in many neighborhoods of Beşiktaş such as Ortaköy in peace for centuries. We are well aware that our historical and cultural heritage is one of the greatest treasures we possess. With the awareness that this is not only our own but also the whole humanity’s common heritage, we are dedicated to protect this identity of Beşiktaş that brings together various cultures and beliefs, and to carry our district into the future. We believe that the differences between our identities are not to be used as a political football. On the contrary, this variety makes Beşiktaş an even more peaceful home. As the Beşiktaş Municipality, we know that it is our duty to serve equally to every individual living in our district, no matter of what identity. We accept and embrace the richness created from this variety of cultures and beliefs present in Beşiktaş as a common value. We dream of a Beşiktaş where everyone is equally embraced and every resident has the opportunity to realize their own potential. We want to make Beşiktaş a fully woman-friendly, child-friendly, elderly-friendly, disabled-friendly district in close fellowship with everybody and the whole world, in no uncertain terms. We want Beşiktaş to become a city that establishes bridges between different societies, communities and sides. With these feelings, I wish 2020 brings peace, fellowship and prosperity to our country and the whole world, and it brings health and happiness to you and your families.”
After the Mayor, the Fener Greek Patriarch Bartholomeos gave a speech and said, “I would like to thank the Beşiktaş Mayor Mr. Rıza Akpolat and his spouse Mrs. Derya Akpolat for hosting such a meaningful event. Every New Year means new hopes and new beginnings. It is up to us, mortals, to make 2020 a different year in this regard. We have a responsibility for the next generations. We need to solve problems of each other and cry together and laugh together. The vision of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder of the Modern Turkish Republic, “Peace at Home, Peace in the World” continues to show us the way.”
The Boğaziçi Youth Choir took the stage and gave a marvelous show, performing many beautiful songs in various languages belonging to different cultures.
The event ended with a family photo.