Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan released a message on Friday to mark 562nd anniversary of Istanbul's conquest by the Ottoman Empire on May 29, 1453.
Saying that Istanbul is still evolving as a center for business, finance, trade, art and culture, Erdogan described the conquest of Istanbul as "one of the greatest victories" of the Turkish nation.
"The conquest of Istanbul goes down in history as not just a military success, but also for the fair and just sense of ruling by Fatih the Conqueror," said Erdogan.
Claiming that the conquest allowed many different religions and cultures to live as one afterward Erdogan said "Istanbul brings together the past and the present with its unique history, nature and cultural properties that inspired many poets, novelists and artists."
On May 29, 1453, Ottoman Sultan Mehmed II conquered Istanbul, then called Constantinople, from where the Byzantines had ruled the Eastern Roman Empire for more than 1,000 years.
The conquest transformed the city, once the heart of the Byzantine realm, into the capital of the new Ottoman Empire.
With the conquest of Istanbul, a new era started politically and administratively in Turkey and the wider world.
“Rise and revival” are the themes which will mark Istanbul’s upcoming celebration of the 562nd anniversary of its conquest by the Ottomans.
The city has moved its annual celebration for the first time from the traditional Balat district to the seaside Yenikapi area; events will be held on Saturday, rather than the actual anniversary date of Friday, to encourage more participation.
A 450-strong team has been working hard to finish the final preparations at the Yenikapi venue, which is being furnished with advanced technology.
State officials — political, military and administrative — and political parties have also been invited to the event, said Istanbul governor Vasip Sahin. "I hope it will be a celebration worthy of its meaning," he said.
One-and-a-half million people are expected to attend, where they will enter through 120 gates amid tight security.