Loading
Pope Benedict XVI arrives in Turkey, “a bridge between Asia and Europe”
Pope Benedict XVI arrives in Turkey, “a bridge between Asia and Europe”

.- At 1pm Turkish-time today Pope Benedict XVI arrived at Ankara, Turkey’s Esemboğa International Airport, for his historic visit.  The Pontiff was greeted by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and, after a brief welcome, traveled by motorcade to the Ataturk Mausoleum.

Touching down amid a large cordon of security, the Pope’s plane was met by the Prime Minister.  Erdogan was previously going to miss Benedict’s arrival, due to a NATO meeting in Latvia, but in the last few days adjusted his schedule and delayed his departure.

The two heads of state shook hands and processed from the plane on a red carpet.

"I want to express happiness to see you and your delegation in our country," Erdogan told the Pope. He described the Pope's visit as "very meaningful."

"I really wanted to come to Turkey because Turkey has become a bridge ... between the religions," Benedict reportedly told the Prime Minister through an interpreter.

"It is a democratic, Islamic country and a bridge," the Pope said. "I wanted to come to Turkey since becoming pope because I love this culture."

"I want to reiterate the solidarity between the cultures," Benedict said. "This is our duty."

After a brief, private meeting between the two, the Pontiff was ushered to a bulletproof car, for travel to the mausoleum of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the “Father of Turkey” who was the founder and first president of the modern Turkish Republic.

Pope Benedict stood briefly in prayer at the grave of Ataturk before proceeding to a small podium to sign the mausoleum’s ceremonial guest book.

The Holy Father wrote in the book, “In this land, a meeting point of different religions and cultures, and bridge between Asia and Europe, I gladly make my own the words of the Founder of the Turkish Republic: ‘Peace at Home, peace in the World’.”

The Pope’s trip, which was initially designed as one of primarily eccumenical importance - highlighted by the Holy Father’s visit with the spiritual head of the Orthodox Church - has since taken on a more interreligious and intercultural tone.  Many in the largely Islamic country have protested the arrival of the Pontiff, due to a speech he gave earlier this year in Germany which was widely misinterpreted as a direct attack on Islam.

Several Islamic radicals have staged protests in advance of the Pope’s arrival and security has been heightened to protect the Pontiff.

According to the Associated Press, Turkish police monitored the highway leading to Ankara from the airport. And snipers were positioned atop buildings and hilltops. In wooded areas along the route, soldiers in camouflage fatigues set up observation points and sniffer dogs passed along bridges.

Before departing for Ankara, the Pontiff said in Rome that he was embarking on a "trip of dialogue, brotherhood and reconciliation at this difficult moment in history."

After departing from the Ataturk Mausoleum the Pope met privately with the President of Turkey, at the Presidential Palace.  

Before the day is over, Pope Benedict will also visit with the President of Religious Affairs for the country and with members of the Diplomatic Corps to Turkey.


Ads by AdsLiveMedia(What's this?)

* The number of messages that can be online is limited. CNA reserves the right to edit messages for content and tone. Comments and opinions expressed by users do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of CNA. CNA will not publish comments with abusive language, insults or links to other pages

RESOURCES »

Ads by Google (What's this?)
Ads by Google (What's this?)

Featured Videos

Pope Francis celebrates the closing Mass and announces site of next World Youth Day
Pope Francis celebrates the closing Mass and announces site of next World Youth Day
Pope Francis visits poor neighborhood and meets with young people from Argentina
Pope Francis celebrates Mass at the National Shrine of Our Lady of Aparecida
Denver rally draws hundreds in support of religious freedom
Pope Francis prays over a sick man in St Peter's Square
Denver women's clinic will offer natural, Catholic care
Interview Clips: Barbara Nicolosi speaks to CNA
US Cardinals press conference at North American College
Pope Benedict to retire to monastery inside Vatican City
Pope cites waning strength as reason for resignation
Hundreds convene in Denver to urge respect for life
New Orange bishop encourages Catholic unity in diversity
Chinese pro-life activist calls for reform, international attention
At Lincoln installation, Bishop Conley says holiness is success
Mother Cabrini shrine reopens in Chicago after a decade
Ordination of 33 deacons fills St. Peter's with joy
Cardinal says "Charity is the mother of all the virtues"
Augustine Institute expands evangelization effort with new campus
Bishops recall 'Way of St. James' as chance to trust in God
Los Angeles cathedral's newest chapel houses Guadalupe relic
Apr
24

Liturgical Calendar

April 24, 2014

Thursday within the Octave of Easter

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Lk 24:35-48

Gospel
Date
04/24/14
04/23/14
04/22/14

Daily Readings


First Reading:: Acts 3:11-26
Gospel:: Lk 24:35-48

Saint of the Day

Easter Sunday »

Saint
Date
04/24/14
04/22/14

Homily of the Day

Lk 24:35-48

Homily
Date
04/24/14
04/23/14
04/22/14

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com
     HTML
Text only
Headlines
  

Follow us: