(Minghui.org) Turkish Falun Dafa practitioners hosted the third Middle Eastern Experience Sharing Fa Conference in Istanbul. Nearly 60 practitioners from other Middle Eastern and European countries attended the conference.

Over the three-day gathering, practitioners held many activities including a peaceful protest at the Chinese Consulate, a demonstration of Falun Dafa exercises, a signature drive against the ongoing persecution in China, a candlelight vigil to commemorate those killed in the persecution, and an experience sharing conference.

The nearly 60 practitioners who attended the experience sharing conference show their respects to Master Li Hongzhi, the founder of Falun Dafa.

First Day: Peaceful Protest, Press Conference, and Fa Study

On the first day of the gathering, September 16, practitioners staged a peaceful protest in front of the Chinese Consulate in Istanbul, calling for a stop to the persecution of Falun Dafa practitioners in China.

Protest at the Chinese Consulate in Istanbul on September 16.

Practitioners hold a press conference in front of the consulate. Many news outlets reported on the protest.

Practitioners set up poster boards in front of the Chinese Consulate with the messages, “Stop the Persecution of Falun Gong,” “The world needs Truthfulness, Compassion, Forbearance,” “Stop the Forced Organ Harvesting in China,” “Falun Dafa is Good,” and “Stop Illegal Organ Harvesting in China.”

During the protest, while some of the practitioners sent righteous thoughts, others sat in meditation.

The Istanbul police were very helpful to the practitioners throughout the event, as they have interacted with Dafa practitioners during previous activities. The police commander said, “Yours is an innocent practice,” and “We wish everybody would be like you.” Many officers showed an interest in the practice and asked for brochures about Falun Dafa.

Members of the press showed great interest in the protest against the Chinese regime's 17-year persecution campaign and its harvesting of organs from living Falun Gong practitioners imprisoned for their faith.

The protest was covered by two press agencies, two TV news channels, a national newspaper, and fifteen news websites.

After their peaceful protest, the practitioners met in a hotel conference room and read the first two lectures of Zhuan Falun, the main book of Falun Dafa.

Day Two: Group Exercises and Candlelight Vigil

On September 17, the practitioners met at the popular Ortaköy area of Istanbul and did the Falun Dafa exercises together, sent forth righteous thoughts, and distributed brochures to the public.

On Besiktas Square, practitioners collected signatures calling for an end to the persecution in China. In the evening, they held a candlelight vigil to commemorate practitioners in China who lost their lives in the persecution.

Event at Besiktas Istanbul. Many practitioners demonstrated the Falun Dafa exercises, while others collected signatures from Turkish citizens calling for an end to the persecution in China.

Many pedestrians stopped at the practitioners' booth and signed the petition to stop the persecution in China.

Candlelight vigil on Besiktas Square

Day Three: Experience Sharing Conference

The experience sharing conference was held on September 18. Middle Eastern practitioners talked about how they improved themselves based on the principles of Falun Dafa and told the public in their respective regions about the practice and the persecution.

Atifet said, “Falun Dafa is the most valuable and beautiful thing that a human being can encounter.”

Atifet, a practitioner from southern Turkey who works as a nurse, shared, “My doctor friend told me that I had bronchitis and my lungs were full, and that I should take antibiotics or I would catch pneumonia. I enlightened that this was not a sickness of ordinary human beings. As soon as I understood this, I immediately recovered, and my energy was again recharged.”

Another practitioner explained how she overcame the emotional trauma of her mother passing away, and how other practitioners helped her through the difficulty. She thanked her mother for giving birth to her while she takes steps forward in Dafa.