Published: Tue, February 06, 2018
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

First for Turkey in 59 Years: Erdogan Visits Pope Francis at Vatican

First for Turkey in 59 Years: Erdogan Visits Pope Francis at Vatican

Francis and Mr Erdogan have made plain their concern over the Trump administration's decision two months ago to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said 935 terrorists have been "neutralised" since Turkey launched a military offensive against Syria's Afrin held by Kurdish militia, on January 20.

Erdogan and the pope discussed the status of Jerusalem, which has always been regarded sacred by 3 religions.

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Erdogan would address the issue of Jerusalem during his meeting with the Pope, said La Stampa newspaper quoting the Turkish leader. While a protest against teh Turkish president's visit was being staged in nearby castel sant'Angelo, in Roma, the two leaders discussed "the situation in the Middle East, with particular reference to the status of Jerusalem, highlighting the need to promote peace and stability in the region via dialogue and negotiation, with respect for human rights and worldwide legality", it said.

For the first time since 1959, the Vatican City plays host to a Turkish head of state, amid protests. Along with peace in the middle east other topics discussed included efforts to welcome refugees and "the condition of the Catholic community" in the Muslim majority country that self-describes as a secular state. They instead stressed that all actors must avoid any provocative remarks promoting this false equivalency.

Pope Francis and later the European Union in 2015, the massacre's centennial, were trying to encourage Turkey "to recognize the Armenian genocide and thus pave the way for a genuine reconciliation between Turkish and Armenian peoples". The two leaders stressed that "equating Islam with terror is wrong", according to Turkish sources, with Erdoğan telling the pope that Turkey values people from all religions, including Catholics, living in harmony and peace.

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Erdogan has publicly stated his support for destroying Kurdish groups who hope to carve out an independent Kurdistan in northern Iraq and Syria. Rome also issued a 24-hour ban on demonstrations.

"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.

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