ISTANBUL — Armenian Acting Patriarch of Istanbul Aram Ateshian has urged the world’s politicians to forget about their countries’ interests and instead pursue the humanity being destroyed in Syria.

Turkish Parliament Speaker Çemil Çiçek met with Turkey’s religious leaders during the 22th Parliamentary Assembly of Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) held in Istanbul June 30, using the occasion to voice his hopes for a more tolerant and respectful world, the Hurriyet Daily News reports.

“I hope your calls reach to those who should hear and understand,”Çiçek told those present at the gathering, who included Greek Patriarch Bartholomew, Armenian Patriarch Aram Ateshian, Chief Rabbi Isak Haleva, and Mehmet Paçaci from the Religious Affairs Directorate.

The leaders made speeches at a special session promoting dialogue and cooperation over the issues of racism, intolerance and xenophobia.

“We are supposed to choose dialogue rather than division, tolerance instead of extremism and consensus rather than discrimination as role models,” Bartholomew said in his speech.

Ateshian, for his part, touched on the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Syria in his address. “We invite the world’s politicians to mercy, to forget about their countries’ interests and instead pursue the humanity being destroyed in Syria,” he said.

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