Speaking at the ceremony, he said construction of the church would be completed in two years.
“We are a nation which has been ruling over this region for almost a millennium, and Istanbul for 566 years. Throughout this long history, our region has always been the heart of religious, ethnic and cultural diversity, most importantly of the conscience of humanity,” he added.
“Although suffering in our region over the last 150 years have caused many troubles and much destruction, we have never allowed even the slightest weakness in our will to coexist. To us, anyone who has affection and loyalty for Turkey and contributes to [the country] is a first-class citizen,” Erdoğan underlined.
“The real target of terror groups and their allies is our common homeland and the best way to disappoint them is to see our differences as our most important wealth,” Erdoğan said.
Hurriyet Daily News