Pope's Turkey trip touched all faith, diplomatic bases

Conciliatory mood a fitting ending to landmark visit
Defying worried predictions, Pope Benedict XVI ended a momentous four-day trip to Turkey on a high note early this month, celebrating mass for the country’s small Roman Catholic community and basking in widespread media praise of his landmark visit to a mosque.

The conciliatory mood provided a fitting end to a papal trip that many initially feared would stoke tensions between the Muslim world and the West.

For months, Turks and Muslims around the world have criticized the pope for comments he made about Islam during a speech in Germany in September. Indeed, on November 26 thousands of Turks marched through Istanbul to protest the pontiff’s visit before he arrived. However, by the time Benedict boarded his return flight to Rome on December 1 the anger for the most part had become amity.

“We are brothers in religion,” read a front-page headline in Turkey’s Vatan newspaper, an Islamic daily.

 

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