Kurdish protesters clash with Italian police during Erdogan's visit

06 February, 2018, 13:43 | Author: Dustin Murphy
  • Erdogan, Pope oppose Trump over Jerusalem

Protesters rallied near Castel Sant'Angelo in Rome, 500 meters away from the Vatican, against the visit of Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Before leaving Turkey, Erdogan said the United States had isolated itself over Jerusalem, which the Palestinians want to share with the Israelis as their future capital.

Erdogan responded by calling an emergency meeting of the OIC that Turkey hosted in Istanbul. Both Francis and Erdogan have publicly opposed US President Donald Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's official capital.

Returning a visit made by the pope to Turkey in 2014, Erdoğan 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.

3,500 police were deployed for President Erdogan's visit - the first by Turkey's leader to the Vatican in 59 years - while the Italian government ordered a ban on protests.

The two men met privately for almost an hour, and according to a Vatican statement, they spoke about bilateral relations between the Holy See and Turkey, the situation within the country and the condition of the Catholic community, Turkey's role in receiving refugees and the challenges this poses. "[It is] a symbol of a world based on peace and justice", the pope told Erdoğan as he gave him the medallion, made by the Italian artist Guido Verol.

The state-run Anadolu Agency said Mr Erdogan and Francis also expressed the need to avoid "provocative statements that link Islam with terrorism".

"I am surprised the pope is willing to meet with a person like that, a dictator, an assassin, with blood on his hands", Said Durson, who was among the demonstrators, said. Their discussion reportedly touched on the conflicts in the Middle East and the status of Jerusalem, as well as the status of Christians in Turkey.

'Turkey fulfilled all demands of the European Union and intends to become its full-fledged member; other conditions of the European Union doesn't interest Ankara, ' the president said.


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