Turkey's Erdogan makes historic visit to Vatican

Turkish president to meet Pope Francis in historic visit to the Vatican

Turkish president to meet Pope Francis in historic visit to the Vatican

He added he felt committed to "protecting the status quo" of Jerusalem, after U.S. President Donald Trump's recent unilateral decision to recognize the city as Israel's capital.

The Turkish president was expected to visit Vatican first on Monday morning, meeting with Pope Francis and Vatican Secretary of State Pietro Parolin, local media said. Their discussion reportedly touched on the conflicts in the Middle East and the status of Jerusalem, as well as the status of Christians in Turkey.

The Turkish presidential office says that the two opposed Trump's decision, agreeing that any change to the status of Jerusalem was unacceptable.

"A Vatican statement said the talks "[included] the status of Jerusalem, highlighting the need to promote peace and stability in the region [Middle East] through dialogue and negotiation, with respect for human rights and global law".

Three years ago, in April 2015, Pope Francis and the Turkish leader were entangled in a fierce dispute over Turkey's refusal to accept its responsibility for the 1915 Armenian genocide.

At the end of the meet, Erdogan said he hoped that pope would keep him in his prayers.

The state-run Anadolu Agency said Mr Erdogan and Francis also expressed the need to avoid "provocative statements that link Islam with terrorism". Joint efforts against xenophobia and Islamophobia were discussed during the meeting, with the leaders stressing that equating Islam with terror is wrong.

The pope and president also exchanged gifts.

The far-right Brothers of Italy party decried his visit in a statement that warned against the "Islamization of Europe", a notion often touted by anti-migrant parties across the continent.

The Turkish military suffered its highest number of casualties in a single day on February 3-4, when 10 soldiers were killed in a 24-hour period.

At the conclusion of the 50-minute audience, lengthy by papal standards, Francis presented President Recep Tayyip Erdogan with a medallion depicting an "angel of peace" strangling the "demon of war".

Erdoğan's delegation included Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, Economy Minister Nihat Zeybekci, Defense Minister Nurettin Canikli, EU Minister Ömer Çelik, and Energy Minister Berat Albayrak.

Recommended News

We are pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news.
Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper.
Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.