Turkish president meets pope, expected to discuss Jerusalem

Erdogan is due to see the pope on Monday in what will be the first visit to the Vatican by a Turkish president in 59 years.

By REUTERS
February 5, 2018 09:32
2 minute read.
 Pope Francis and Turkey's President Tayyip Erdogan

Pope Francis and Turkey's President Tayyip Erdogan. (photo credit: REUTERS)

 
X

Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief

UPGRADE YOUR JPOST EXPERIENCE FOR 5$ PER MONTH Show me later

VATICAN CITY - Tayyip Erdogan made the first visit by a Turkish president to see the pope in the Vatican in 59 years on Monday as Rome was put under heavy security measures for fear of violent demonstrations.

Erdogan said before he left Turkey that he would discuss the Middle East situation and Jerusalem in particular. The Vatican was due to issue a statement about the meeting later.

Be the first to know - Join our Facebook page.


Both Erdogan and Pope Francis are opposed to US President Donald Trump's decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, which many US allies say could doom Middle East peace efforts..

Erdogan, returning a visit made by the pope to Turkey in 2014, spoke privately with Francis for about 50 minutes in the pontiff's frescoed study in the Vatican's Apostolic Palace, which he uses mostly for ceremonial purposes.

At the end of the private part of the meeting, the pope gave Erdogan a bronze medallion showing an angel embracing the northern and southern hemispheres while overcoming the opposition of a dragon.

"This is the angel of peace who strangles the demon of war," the pope told Erdogan as he gave him the medallion, made by the Italian artist Guido Verol. "(It is) a symbol of a world based on peace an justice."

The public part of the meeting, with reporters and Erdogan's entourage, was cordial, although both men seemed stiff at the start while seated at the pope's desk before journalists were ushered out.

JPOST VIDEOS THAT MIGHT INTEREST YOU:


Erdogan's motorcade entered a virtually deserted St. Peter's Square after the streets that are usually bustling with tourists were closed due to security fears.

A small, authorized demonstration of Kurds and their supporters was held outside nearby Castel Sant'Angelo, a fortress on the banks of the River Tiber.

Some 3,500 police and security forces were on duty in Rome and authorities declared a no-go area for unauthorized demonstrations that included the Vatican, Erdogan's hotel and Italian palaces where he is meeting the president and prime minister.

Matteo Salvini, head of Italy's anti-immigrant Northern League, said in a tweet that it was "shameful" that the government was receiving Erdogan, calling him "the head of a bloody, freedom-killing Islamic regime."

Erdogan and the pope spoke by phone in December after Trump made his announcement on Jerusalem and agreed that any change to the city's status quo should be avoided.

The Vatican backs a two-state solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, with both sides agreeing on the status of Jerusalem - home to sites holy to the Muslim, Jewish and Christian religions - as part of the peace process.

Palestinians want east Jerusalem as the capital of a future independent state, whereas Israel has declared the whole city to be its "united and eternal" capital.

Among Erdogan's delegation was the Mehmet Pacaci, Turkey's ambassador to the Vatican. Erdogan recalled Pacaci to Turkey in 2015 when Francis became the head of the Roman Catholic Church and called the 1915 killing of as many as 1.5 million Armenians "genocide" - something Turkey has always denied.

The ambassador stayed away for nearly 10 months.

Join Jerusalem Post Premium Plus now for just $5 and upgrade your experience with an ads-free website and exclusive content. Click here>>

Related Content

A demonstrator holds picture of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi during a protest in front of Saudi
October 16, 2018
Trump sends Pompeo to Riyadh over Khashoggi; Saudis may blame official

By REUTERS