From Lynn Green
Director of the Reconciliation Walk
Here is a report on this morning's reception with the Mayor in Istanbul..
This morning Deputy Mayor, Mr. Guetuna, welcomed the Reconciliation
Walk to Istanbul. He commended the Walkers in their efforts to
bring peace and understanding. He commented, "This project is very
important to Turkey. You can see how much it means to the Turkish
people when they line both sides of the road and applaud the Walkers
as they pass through."
Mr. Guetuna hosted a breakfast reception for about 60 Walkers in
Istanbul's beautiful Yildiz Gardens. The reception was also
attended by dozens of reporters and TV crews from Turkey and other
European nations. In his speech, Mr. Guetuna stressed how much
Christians and Muslims share similar concerns. After his speech,
Mr. Lynn Green, Director of the Reconciliation Walk responded with
thanks for the warm reception which the Walkers have experienced in
Turkey. Mr Green also stressed common concerns. He explained that
both Muslims and devout Christians are worried about negative
aspects of Western culture: breakdown of families, the widening gap
between rich and poor and the often destructive output of the
entertainment industry of the West. All of the Walkers agreed that
the Turkish people had made a very positive impression on them.
Mr. John Pressdee, who led the Walkers from Germany to Turkey, read
the Reconciliation Walk message of apology to the Deputy Mayor. The
reception reflected the very positive manner in which the message
of the Reconciliation Walk has been received in Turkey, from the
common people right through to governmental authorities. The
Walkers have apologised for the atrocities committed in the name of
Christ by Crusaders 900 years ago. The message has been welcomed in
Mosques, Synagogues and in the streets as the Walk has passed
through the nations from Germany to Turkey.
Western nations, who so often represent Christianity, have
traditionally presented a powerful and sometimes oppressive face to
Muslim people. The Walkers have noted that their message is
consistently a source of astonishment to those who hear. Both
Muslims and Jews have wept when they realised that these Western
Christian people have come to them in humility.
The Reconciliation Walk will continue with many hundreds of
Christians participating in small teams as they make their way
through Turkey during 1997 and 1998. The project will culminate in
July 1999 in Jerusalem, 900 years after the Holy City fell to the
First Crusade. Mr. Green explains that more than 1.8 million Jews
and Muslims are likely to receive the message of reconciliation from
one of the Walkers. In addition, many millions have aready received
the message via television and newspapers.
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