With wishes for a peaceful and prosperous New Year for both nations, Prime Minister Boyko Borissov turned to his Turkish counterpart Binali Yildirim, with whom he spoke in Istanbul prior to the official opening of the restored Iron Church “St. Stefan”.
This is really a big day, but also a very good investment in the future. To show the whole of Europe, the Christian world, that the relations with our biggest neighbor can be improved. As small as we are, we will try to contribute to mutual understanding, Prime Minister Borissov said.
The Prime Ministers identified as wonderful the occasion that gathered today in Istanbul representatives of the Bulgarian and Turkish states, Christians and Muslims. They also noted that whereas there used to be wars for the Bosporus in the past, Istanbul and Sofia now are cities - symbols of unity of cultures and religions.
“You start the year with the European Presidency and I want to congratulate you on this. During your Presidency, good news from our European friends started to appear. We haven’t had problems with the EU in the past either but let us send the message today: “Let us be tolerant,” Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said.
Later in the day, the two had a working meeting. During the meeting, Prime Minister Borissov pointed out that the stable and sustainable development of the bilateral relations is a priority for the Bulgarian foreign policy. He emphasized that in addition to being Bulgaria's immediate neighbor, Turkey is also a NATO ally and an important partner in areas, such as migration, the fight against terrorism, energy, agriculture and livestock farming, trade and others.
According to Prime Minister Yildirim, in recent years Bulgaria and Turkey have shown that problems do not divide but connect them.