Friday, August 19, 2005

Unconfirmed: Benedict to visit Turkey

Istanbul, 19 August (AKI) - Pope Benedict XVI - head of the Catholic church - will visit Turkey on 28-30 November, according to the Turkish daily Milliyet.

Read the complete article VATICAN: POPE TO VISIT TURKEY from AKI.

The article goes on to detail past efforts at inter-religious dialogue and John Paul II's efforts that Benedict promised to continue. The article also puts much stock in the idea that Benedict is coming as some kind of "reassurance to the Turkish population of the Vatican's efforts in inter-religious dialogue and its support for the country's EU membership bid." Cardinal Ratzinger has said in the past that he opposes Turkey's EU membership as a dilution of European identity.

As far as the visit goes, the Holy Father was invited to Turkey by the Patriarch of Constantinople soon after his election and inauguration. If in fact he is going, Benedict is simply taking the patriarch up on his invitation, though he will no doubt address the Turkish question when he arrives in Constantinople.

(Factoid: Road signs in Greece still refer to Istanbul as Constantinople.)

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