Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Thursday met Sahak Mashalian, head of Armenian Patriarchate of Turkey.

The Turkish leader and his spouse Emine Erdogan came to the Kumkapi Mother Mary Armenian Church to bid farewell to the deceased lawmaker of the ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party, Markar Esayan.

Before the religious ceremony, Erdogan and Mashalian went to the Armenian Patriarchate of Turkey, which was founded in 1461 upon the instructions of Mehmet the Conqueror, for a meeting.

The president was accompanied by Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu, Justice Minister Abdulhamit Gul, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca, Culture and Tourism Minister Mehmet Nuri Ersoy, Communications Director Fahrettin Altun, as well as several party officials.

Following about half an hour meeting, Erdogan went back to the Mother Mary Armenian Church, where the the ritual was held for Esayan, who passed away last Friday at age 51.

Esayan was a former journalist and became a member of parliament representing Istanbul for the AK Party in 2015.

He is the author of five books that were published from 2005-2015.

*Writing by Sena Guler

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