The Turkish president on Monday conveyed warm wishes to the Jewish community on Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year.

In a message released by the Communications Directorate, Recep Tayyip Erdogan emphasized that cultural, political and human diversity is a source of wealth that carries Turkey forward and strengthens unity and solidarity.

He said Turkey had provided constitutional protection to its citizens’ freedom of faith and worship before many other countries.

Despite the rising cultural racism, hate speech, and otherization across the region, Turkey is a “free country” where all faiths are openly observed, and opinions freely expressed as long as they do not promote violence and terrorism, Erdogan said.

He said reforms introduced over the past 19 years – the period of Justice and Development (AK) Party’s government – have eliminated anti-democratic practices of the “eras of tutelage that used to restrict freedoms.”

“It is one of our main priorities that all the citizens of the Republic of Turkey, regardless of their religions, languages, races or origins, can lead their lives with peace, security and tranquility. We believe that we, as the people that have a shared past dating back centuries, will build a shared future as well,” he said.

Erdogan said he appreciates the contributions made by Turkey’s Jewish citizens for the development, strengthening and achievement of the country’s goals.

“With these thoughts in mind, I wish Rosh Hashanah may bring health and welfare to all Jews, our citizens in particular, and convey my regards and greetings to them on this special day of theirs.”

This year, Rosh Hashanah is being observed from Sept. 6-8.

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