.- Turkish authorities have announced that security will be tight during Pope Benedict XVI’s first visit to their country later this month.
The Pope is scheduled to visit the predominantly Muslim country, from Nov. 30 to Dec. 1. The purpose of the trip is to discuss Christian unity with Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, Bartholomew I.
However, concerns about the Pope’s safety emerged after a series of protests were staged against his visit. The protests were in reaction to the Pope’s comments in September, when he cited a 14th-century emperor’s views that Islam is a violent religion.
Authorities in Istanbul say they will deploy police sharpshooters on rooftops and install closed circuit television surveillance cameras during the pontiff’s scheduled visit to the city Nov. 30, reported AKI.
The Pope is expected stay at a church residence near the Cathedral of the Holy Spirit. And authorities have said that police will carry out checks on people moving in the vicinity.
Protests will be allowed by the police but may be staged only in pre-determined locations. Police will also monitor groups suspected to be hostile to the Pope. A total of 4,000 police will be tasked with protecting the Pope and well-wishers while he is in Istanbul, reported AKI.