Turkey’s president on Monday commemorated Jorge Sampaio, Portugal's late president and the first high representative of the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations.
In a video message sent to a memorial ceremony at UN Headquarters in New York to commemorate Sampaio, who passed away this September, Recep Tayyip Erdogan voiced his deep sorrow at Sampaio's loss.
Expressing his condolences to Sampaio's family, the people of Portugal, and the UN community, Erdogan stressed that Sampaio was an exceptional statesman who played an important role in Portugal's democratic history.
The Turkish leader said he would always remember Sampaio's support during his presidency for the strengthening of friendship and cooperation between Turkey and Portugal.
Erdogan recalled how in 2005, he and then-Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero launched the Alliance of Civilizations initiative, and that Sampaio was designated the alliance's first high representative.
Erdogan added that Sampaio “strived to transform the Alliance of Civilizations into a structure that would serve international peace.”
"At this time when Islamophobia, racism, anti-Semitism, and xenophobia are on the rise, the vision and values of the Alliance of Civilizations are needed more than ever. This initiative, which we sowed the seeds of 16 years ago, offers an important way out of the crises the world is in,” Erdogan stressed.
“With these thoughts, I once again commemorate Mr. Sampaio with respect and offer my condolences to his family, loved ones, and the Alliance of Civilizations community, " he added.
*Writing by Seda Sevencan
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