By Ilhan Toprak
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan Saturday released a Christmas message extending season's greetings to Turkey’s Christian citizens as well as to the Christian world.
In the message, released by the Presidential Press Office, Erdogan said that Turkey’s culture of tolerance has enabled a wide range of beliefs and traditions to live together in peace in its region.
"We, the members of this deep-rooted tradition, continue to embrace all the oppressed who have escaped war, oppression, and pressure," the president added.
Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim also issued a message of holiday greetings.
“The centuries-old tolerant environment in our country which has hosted different civilizations, different beliefs, and ideas throughout history, continues its existence today despite the various assaults against our nation’s unity and peace,” he said in a statement.
Turkey's Minister for EU Affairs Omer Celik also released a message marking Christmas, saying, “I hope this day will be good for humanity, especially at a time the world is being shaken by terror and violence.”
For Christians, Christmas mass announces the arrival of the day Jesus Christ, the messiah, was born.
Muslims recognize Jesus as an honored prophet of God.
One of Christianity’s most culturally significant celebrations, Christmas Eve is observed by most non-Orthodox Christians on Dec. 24 of every year.