.- The Vatican’s Secretary for Relations with States, Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, said he was confident the Turkish people, “will not fail to demonstrate once again their traditional hospitality” during the Pope’s visit to their country, and he said the Pontiff’s discourse in Regensburg last September would end up having a positive influence on the visit.
“I am sure that the Turkish society will not fail to demonstrate once again its traditional hospitality” towards the Holy Father, “a pilgrim of peace and of the dialogue that is taking place in that country following in the footsteps of his predecessors Paul VI and John Paul II and in memory of Blessed John XXIII,” the archbishop said during a interview with the Italian daily “Avvenire.”
Archbishop Mamberti said he was confident that Turkish officials would be able to ensure the Pope’s safety during the four-day visit.
Regarding the influence that Benedict XVI’s lecture in Regensburg last September might have on the trip, Archbishop Mamberti said he believed it would be positive, because the Pope, “will be able to reaffirm that which he has already said, clarifying his thinking regarding the esteem for Muslims, the will to dialogue—which is not sporadic—the possibility of collaborating in the service of man and his needs, overcoming confusion and misunderstandings.”
Turkey and the EU: Holy See has no “official” position
With regards to the question of Turkish entry into the EU, Archbishop Mamberti stressed that the Holy See has not adopted an “official” position on the matter. The Apostolic See “follows the question with great interest and emphasizes that the debate has been taking place for some time and the positions expressed in favor or against the admission of Turkey into the European Union show that what is at stake is of extreme relevance,” he said.
The Vatican official said that if entry into the EU were allowed, Turkey should meet the requirements and obligations as outlined at the Copenhagen Summit of December 2002 and the agreement on Turkish entry into the EU established in June of 2006.