Christians have started to celebrate Easter with masses in churches in Turkey on April 1, commemorating the day followers believe Jesus was resurrected 2,000 years ago. 

In the southern province of Mersin, people celebrated Easter with a mass in the Latin Italian Catholic Church, led by Priest Francis Dondu.

In Istanbul, many gathered in St. Antuan Catholic Church in the Beyoglu district for Easter celebrations.

People prayed and lit candles during mass in the church, which is located on Istanbul’s iconic Istiklal Avenue.

Meanwhile, politicians also shared messages celebrating Easter.

In his message, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said religious holidays were the days in which brotherhood, love and respect rule in society and feelings of solidarity and unity intensify.

“We place the utmost importance on the freedom in which all our citizens can follow their own religion, culture and traditions freely, regardless of their religious, cultural or ethnic origin,” Erdogan said in a statement.

“Religious holidays are exceptional days in which the bonds of fellowship and solidarity are strengthened and unity and sense of solidarity are reinforced,” he said.

Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu also extended his good wishes to Christian citizens.

“Founded by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the Republic of Turkey has reinforced the deep tolerance of this geography that has been ongoing for centuries. I hope Easter will bring peace to our country and to the whole world,” Kilicdaroglu said in his message.

Easter marks the crucifixion of Jesus and his resurrection three days later.

Source:  Daily Hurriyet

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