a speech he made last week..- According to parties on both sides, Pope Benedict XVIâs November trip to Turkey will continue as planned, despite violent reactions on the part of many Muslims to
Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul said yesterday that his government would not block the visit. âAs far as we are concerned, there are no changes to the program,â Turkish news service HÃ¼rriyet reported.
Gul said that the Popeâs words were âparticularly unfortunateâ during a period in which, âthe United Nations and countries in general are working to create an atmosphere of better understanding between religions and cultures.â
The Pontiff made a speech in Germany last week, in which he spoke of fostering greater cultural and religious understanding and respect. However, in the middle of his speech he quoted a 14th Century Byzantine emperor who said that violent Islam was âevil and inhuman.â Despite clarifications by the Vatican and the Pope himself, insisting that people read his entire speech, most have only quoted the portion that seems to slight Islam and the prophet Mohammed.
The Vatican has not given any official indication that the trip is in question. On Sunday Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, told the press that he hopes the trip will occur and that, âthere is currently nothing that we can see which would prevent it."
However, according to Italian daily âCorriere della Seraâ the schedule of the trip might be slightly adjusted. The paper reports that a meeting between Pope Benedict and Ali Bardarkoglu, Turkeyâs Religious Affairs Minister is in question. Bardarkoglu has been one of the most vocal critics of Benedictâs words and was one of the first to demand an apology.