The iconic Bulgarian church Sveti Stefan, dubbed the world's only iron church, located in Istanbul's Balat district reopened after seven years of restoration, with the participation of President Recep TayyipErdo?an, Prime Minister Binali Y?ld?r?m and Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov.
Speaking at the ceremony, Prime Minister Y?ld?r?m highlighted that the restoration of the church is an example of Turkey's religious tolerance, amid increasing racism in the West.
"Enabling citizens with different faiths to be able to worship and coexist with the rest of the society in peace and comfort is one of the topics prioritized by our government," Y?ld?r?m said.
The prime minister noted that Turkey has successfully transferred 1,029 properties to 167 religious community foundations.
Meanwhile, Bulgarian Prime Minister Borisov thanked the Metropolitan Municipality of Istanbul for its support in the restoration of the church.
"Turkey's tolerance toward different religious groups is significant," the Bulgarian PM said.
He also highlighted that 2018 should be a year in which Turkey and the European Union normalize and fix relations.
Speaking at the ceremony, President Erdo?an also highlighted Turkey's tolerance toward different ethnic and religious minorities.
He called the restoration of the church "an important message" for the international community.