Türkiye’s first lady Emine Erdogan received Palestinian musicians Monday in the capital Ankara.
The Palestinian Youth Orchestra visited Türkiye at her invitation.
The musicians will perform a “Peace Concert” at the Presidential Symphony Orchestra (CSO) in Ankara on Tuesday and at the Ataturk Cultural Center in Istanbul on Thursday in cooperation with the CSO.
Speaking at the reception, Erdogan said the idea for the concert came to life after her phone call with Palestinian musician Mariam Afifi.
In May 2021, the artist, who was detained while defending Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem amid Israeli attacks on Palestinians, became one of the symbols of resistance after images of her smiling went viral on social media.
Noting that Muslims, Christians and Jews lived together in the past and developed deep-rooted ties, Erdogan highlighted that different religions and sects lived in a unique climate of peace in Palestine under Ottoman rule.
She emphasized that Muslims, Christians and Jews live together in friendship and worship freely in Anatolia, where many civilizations intersect and where various religions, languages and races coexist.
“However, today, all over the world, a great effort is being made to turn people against each other based on their beliefs.
“Racism, unfortunately, infects our hearts like an incurable disease. If we are looking for a cure for these difficult tests and troubles of our world, we should apply the recipes of civilization. We should revive the culture of tolerance and hold on to it like a lifeline. For this, first of all, we need to accept all people as parts of a brotherhood,” she added.
“Crimes against humanity should be our common concern. Without exception, each of them should enter the agenda of the international community. Wherever human rights, women's rights and children's rights are violated, our hearts must beat there, because true conscience is equally close to all the tears shed,” Erdogan said.
“At this point, I believe that art is a tool that reaches people the fastest and conveys ideas and emotions in their most refined form,” said the first lady, adding that art is at the forefront of the unifying forces.
“Because art, seeping through all prejudices, reaches the heart's most sensitive, innocent and closest point to the truth. It reminds people of peace and unity. Therefore, if there is a medicine that will make people lose their insensitivity, it is art.”