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Turkey, China to increase religious cooperation

02-18-2011 08:40 BJT

ANKARA, Feb. 17 (Xinhua) -- The Islamic Association of China ( IAC) and Turkey's Presidency of Religious Affairs said here Thursday they will strengthen religious cooperation to facilitate friendship and communication between the Chinese and the Turkish people.

The two sides will cooperate in such areas as religious culture, education, training, publishing and organizing pilgrimages to Mecca, said IAC Director Chen Guangyuan, who is visiting Turkish capital of Ankara, after meeting Mehmet Gormez, president of Religious Affairs of Turkey.

Chen told a joint press conference with Gormez that his visit increased the mutual understanding and friendship between the two institutions and will help build closer relations in the future.

"On behalf of 23 million Muslims in China, we want to deliver our regards to Turkish people, to Muslim brothers and sisters here, and hope they enjoy happiness," said Chen.

Gormez expressed gratitude for Chen's visit, saying he expected Chinese Muslim students to come to Turkey for religious studies and training as soon as possible.

"We reached consensus on cooperation in many areas ... the visit opened a new page for our religious cooperation," Gormez told reporters. "Better religious cooperation will help eliminate some misunderstandings about China's religious situation. China has made a lot of progress in the aspect of religious freedom."

Chen arrived in Ankara on Wednesday and met Turkish religious figures on Thursday morning. He will visit Istanbul before leaving Turkey next Tuesday.

Editor:Du Xiaodan |Source: Xinhua

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