CONGRESS OF THE LEADERS OF WORLD AND
TRADITIONAL RELIGIONS
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Speech by Faruk Çelik, Minister of State of Turkey Print E-mail
Your Excellency,
President of the Republic of Kazakhstan, Mr. Nursultan Nazarbayev
Dear political and religious leaders,
Dear participants,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I wish to express my appreciation of being among you in Astana on the occasion of the III Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions, which is a continuation of the dialogue process initiated in 2003 by the respected President of friendly and brotherly Kazakhstan, His Excellency Mr. Nursultan Nazarbayev. Taking this opportunity I want to express my sincere love and respect to all of you.
I would also like to express my gratitude for the sincere attention and hospitality extended to me and the Turkish delegation on arrival in your beautiful country.
Our Prime Minister Mr. Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who is one of the leaders of the Alliance of Civilizations Initiative, under the great importance attached to the Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions, expressed his wish to come to Astana, and take this opportunity to visit friendly and brotherly Kazakhstan. However, due to the pre-planned work program, it was not possible to take participation in this important Congress, and he was unable to be here among us. Mr. Erdogan has asked me to convey his regret over this and best wishes to all of you.
Mr. Prime Minister believes that dialogue developed in any area, provides a contribution to world peace and human welfare, and these congresses serve the same important purpose.
I want to congratulate the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan His Excellency Mr. Nursultan Nazarbayev on the organization of these congresses, which provide discussion of one of the main issues on the global agenda - the dialogue between religions.
Dear political and religious leaders, dear participants!
The events we lived through in the past have shown that the polarization between different faiths and civilizations, and its negative impact cannot be solved by themselves. This problem is now one of the most serious threats facing the international community.
The fate of the world and humankind is consisted in the achievement of sustainable peace not through confrontation and destruction, but through tolerance and empathy (the ability to put yourself in the place of another), because this is required by the moral values which constitute the essence of man and religion.
In the XXI century, in which we all live, the striving for peace and quiet is expressed louder than ever.
As a result of globalization, demographic transitions and interaction of cultures modern societies have ceased to be homogeneous and turned into structures in which people belonging to different cultures, religions and races coexist together.
For this reason, living in the community for humankind moved from the category of preferences to the category of necessity.
This raises the question of the need for a model of coexistence among the most important issues of our time.
And how can we do this?
If you think that all religions - both world and traditional - have as their object the happiness, peace and prosperity of humankind, we can see that there is an undeniable function of factors of religion and faiths in the formation of the foundation for coexistence.
In this case, focusing on the fact that various religions accept the general purposes according to the principle: tolerance and restraint instead of confrontation provides input to the formation of the model and foundation for coexistence.
In the end we all, that is all of humankind, linked to each other with fraternal relations which we can present in a variety of forms.
“The Religious Brotherhood” among people professing the same religion turns into a “Brotherhood of Believers” in relation to people professing different religions.
This is based on “Brotherhood of Man” coming from the creation.
All of these fraternal relations lead us into a state of the members of one family, which should work towards global peace and prosperity. I am sure that most of humankind shares this view.
We all know that the basis of the events leading to human tragedies is ignorance.
Unfortunately, pop culture dominating in the world today and having taken materialism as the basis, forms the source of the sea of ignorance.
We have a huge responsibility on the desiccation of the sea.
In this respect updating of knowledge sources, developing and sharing of new knowledge play the important role.
Let’s not forget that man is opponent to what he does not know and what is not familiar. In this situation, the primary responsibility rests not on what is unknown and unfamiliar, but the one who neither knows nor wants to know.
If we treat each other with feelings and thoughts which are based on empathy instead of prejudice, we will be able to overcome all fears and alienation.
In that sense, when “I” is sovereign, all the other people - the “other”. The main task of humankind - to turn “I” into “We”, and instead of confrontation in the name of benefits and division to prefer common interests and common values.
Because the wide “fan” of the existing problems in the modern world - from terrorism to environmental issues - concerns all of us, and not only when the problem exists.
The bombs exploded in Istanbul, New York, Madrid, London and Baghdad turned into a bloody lake - is a common problem of all humankind, not just the victims or the people living in these places.
If the problems are common, their solutions and approaches to them should also be common.
That’s why we must all together form culture of strong solidarity and dialogue.
Because the world feels the need not for conflicts generated by the differences of views and thoughts, but in the transition to the dynamics of peace and tolerance that form the basis of a human nature.
Mutual tolerance - is the key to personal happiness of people and in a general sense to a stable peace in the world.
We all have faith and values, which we will not abandon under any circumstances.
It is also in our power to save them in an atmosphere of peace and tranquility.
We need to respect and tolerate the faiths and values of each other.
For example, our highest religion - Islam - openly forbids any kind of verbal and physical aggression against the sacred values of others and calls to respect the shrines of people professing other religions and faiths.
Otherwise, and in another respect in any historical period, it was a source of conflict, regardless of civilization and geographical location.
For this reason, the greatest responsibility to prevent tension and confrontation between communities professing different religions lies on the political and religious leaders.
Dear political and religious leaders, dear participants!
The Alliance of Civilizations Initiative and the Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions launched in the XXI Century are excellent examples showing that humanity and political and religious leaders had learned lessons from bitter historical experience.
These initiatives have clearly regard as of paramount importance that people, wherever they may live in the world, no matter what religion they profess, and which culture belong to, are committed to peace and do not want riots, conflicts, terrorism and war.
Dialogue initiatives, launched by our countries and having responses around the world, are the biggest proof that Muslims, Christians, Jews and people of other religions can understand each other and can live together peacefully.
I believe that thanks to this initiative implemented under the leadership of President Mr. Nursultan Nazarbayev given an opportunity to gather representatives of various religions of the world to exchange constructive opinions on the promotion of interfaith dialogue, great challenges facing humanity will be better identified and studied and in case of a reasonable approach and cooperation the solutions will be found.
I also believe that the thoughts and opinions expressed within this Congress, will serve to solve existing problems and to ensure that we can leave a much more peaceful and prosperous world to the future generations.

Dear political and religious leaders, dear participants!
Struggle with confrontation and polarization based on religious and cultural differences, requires solidarity that gives priority to dialogue between religions and cultures.
To save the wealth of religions and cultures, prepare the future, in which tolerance and understanding will dominate - this is our primary duty to the future generations.
With this understanding, we support all initiatives of cooperation aiming at achieving global harmony and peace, primarily the Alliance of Civilizations Initiative, which we initiated in 2005 in collaboration with Spain and now has become an initiative of the UN.
Turkey, throughout history, has adopted many cultures and has traditionally played a role of a bridge between different cultures and religions, draws on this rich history and indigenous culture of harmony and tolerance the source of strength and inspiration for initiatives on dialogue among cultures and religions.
Turkish people over the centuries have become a society which always expressed tolerance to other religions, other cultures, other images and hold arms out to them. This feature is one of the most important and defining values of the Turkish people. The traditional understanding of tolerance of Turkish people and culture is an integral part of our national image.
Just as Turkey, Kazakhstan, as a country where different religions and faiths exist in an atmosphere of social harmony and peace, has showed the world an excellent model of peaceful coexistence.
Dear political and religious leaders, dear participants!
We need to know very well that there is another world, where we could leave.
In this situation, despite all the differences, we must act, not forgetting the truth that we all face the need to treat each other with tolerance.
Let us all together, following the path of peace and tolerance, construct the XXI century as the century of prosperity and harmony.
Let’s keep all our differences and pass our common and universal value as heritage to the future generations.
Before concluding, I would like to express wishes of happiness and prosperity to the friendly and brotherly people of Kazakhstan and once again thank His Excellency the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan Mr. Nursultan Nazarbayev, for organizing this highly successful Congress.
I want to finish my speech by verses of Yunus Emre - one of those spiritual people who have sent messages of love and peace to all humankind:
Come, let us all be friends for once
Let us make life easy on us,
Let us be lovers and loved ones,
The earth shall be left to no one.
Heartily and respectfully greet you all.
 
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