Tuesday, November 28, 2006

The Mother Of All Turkey Shoots?

The Pope has faced much criticism in Turkey even before his arrival (Photo - AP)

Here's a little something from the BBC. Before somebody gets shot. (Then again, if it's a slow news day any news is good news...)

Pope Benedict XVI travels to Turkey on Tuesday for what is arguably the most dangerous, delicate and contested visit outside Italy made by any pope in modern times. Turkey says security will be higher than for US President George W Bush's visit in 2004...

There are therefore three quite separate aspects to the Pope's visit to Turkey: his official visit to the secular Turkish state; his ongoing unofficial, at times acrimonious, dialogue with the world of Islam; and his formal visit to the headquarters of the Orthodox Church.

When I accompanied Benedict's predecessor John Paul II to Istanbul at the start of his pontificate just over a quarter of a century ago, John Paul did not once utter the word "Islam" in any of his speeches. But the world has changed a lot since 1979.


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