.- Turkey’s head of religious affairs says the Pope’s visit to Turkey later this month may help improve relations with Muslims, but he does not believe it will heal the wounds stemming from the Pontiff’s misinterpreted remarks about Islam in September.
"Peace is destroyed in a second but it takes a lot of time, a long process, to build it," Ali Bardakoglu told the Italian La Stampa newspaper
Bardakoglu said he has no concerns about the Pope’s safety during his visit to Turkey Nov. 28-Dec. 1, despite recent protests.
The focus of the Pope’s trip to Turkey was supposed to be discussions on Christian unity with the spiritual head of the world's Orthodox Christians, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew. However, the controversy that emerged in September may overshadow the visit.
Bardakoglu, who is scheduled to meet Benedict during his visit, says he believes the trip “will be a good step in the direction of dialogue.”
The Pope has repeatedly expressed regret for the reaction to a speech he gave at the University of Regensburg, in which he quoted 14th-century Byzantine emperor who said the Islam was “spread by the sword”.
While Bardakoglu says he has accepted the Pope's expressions of regret, he believes the comments were "unacceptable" and that the incorrect comments must be corrected.
"But these are things of the past. We're looking ahead," he was quoted as saying.