ZENIT News Agency, The World Seen from Rome
Bartholomew I Urges Turks to Respect Papal Visit
ISTANBUL, Turkey, NOV. 20, 2006 (Zenit.org).- Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew
I of Constantinople urged Turks to respect the Pope's visit to their country,
given the statements and threats of radical groups to boycott the trip.
In an interview published in the Turkish newspaper Sabah, the Orthodox patriarch
said that Benedict XVI's visit from Nov. 29 to Dec. 1 will be a great opportunity
One of the Pope's objectives is to meet with Bartholomew I in Istanbul, formerly
Constantinople. The meeting between the Catholic and Orthodox Church leaders
is scheduled for Nov. 29.
Turkish authorities have said they expect protests against the Pope. On Sunday,
more than a dozen nationalists unfurled anti-Pope banners during a Conservative
Party rally in Istanbul.
Bartholomew I cautioned that if protests turn violent, it could cause problems
for Turkey ahead of a critical European Union summit in mid-December on Ankara's
progress for membership.
Bartholomew I, who is a Turk, said of the country's response to the papal
visit: "If it is used incorrectly, it will harm Turkey's image."