Leaders in the business, art, and religious communities met at the traditional "tolerance and dialogue" fast breaking dinner hosted by the Turkey Journalists and Authors Foundation.
Fener Greek Patriarch Bartholomew's remorse at Fethullah Gulen Hodja's absence created a sensitive atmosphere in the hall. Bartholomew said the process of developing tolerance and peace was being criticized by some circles but noted that this process is in the Turkish public's interest.
Bartholomew said, "We set off with pride in order to increase the welfare of the state and to contribute to global peace in the dialogue area as in the 10th Year March of the Republic. The respectable Fethullah Gulen Hodja was the mastermind of this idea, which we have shared for 10 years. I greet him with regards and feelings of friendship." He explained that he met Gulen in New York last March and expressed that their friendship continues to grow.
The Speaker of the Parliament, Bulent Arinc, said that nobody should feel apprehension about an organization like this, which includes every segment of society. "This is the reality of Turkey," he added.
Director of Religious Affairs Ali Bardakoglu highlighted the need for tolerance and messages of peace of the Tawhid (unity) religion recently and added his belief that, "this love should embrace all of us."
Vatican Representative George Marovich also expressed his feelings: "There is an excellent scene here; however, I am sad because the architect of this excellent night, Fethullah Gulen Hodja, is not among us. I pray for him every day. I put his picture between the pages of my jawshen [daily prayer book]. I know that even as I sleep, God will protect him." The Chief Rabbi Isaac Haleva said that he could not find a word to add to this excellent image: "There is such a voice in the presence of God. That is what I want" and added that people hand by hand, hearth by hearth should share love for one another.