The Vatican's secretary of state said he hopes Pope Benedict XVI will go to Turkey despite the uproar over the pontiff's remarks about Islam and holy war, the Italian news agency ANSA reported.
"I hope that he will do" the trip, ANSA quoted Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone as saying when asked about the pope's plans to visit predominantly Muslim nation in late November. "Until now, there are no reasons not to make it."
The trip would be Benedict's first papal pilgrimage to a largely Muslim country.
Bertone, the pope's apostolic vicar in Anatolia, Turkey, said participants at a bishops' conference in Istanbul were expected to discuss the pontiff's pilgrimage to Turkey on Monday. The trip mainly had been planned to give Benedict the chance to meet with Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I, spiritual leader of the world's Orthodox Christians.