Pope Francis, the religious leader of the world’s Catholics visited the mausoleum of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk soon after his arriving of Turkey.
Accompanied by Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu and Ankara’s Deputy Governor Mehmet Ali Ulutaş, Pope Francis laid a wreath to the mausoleum bypassing the Anıtkabir’s Lion Road since it took a long walking path.
After the stand of silence Catholics’ leader went to Misak-ı Milli Tower where he wrote and signed the official Anıtkabir memorial book.
Pope Francis has arrived in Turkey for a three-day visit that many are billing as an opportunity to increase dialogue between the Muslim and Christian worlds at a time of increased religious tension.
In the fourth ever visit of a pope to Turkey, Pope Francis started his trip on Nov. 28 by visiting Anıtkabir, the mausoleum of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk. In line with his taboo-breaking style, the pontiff made a series of unscheduled stops at the final resting place of the founder of the Republic of Turkey.
During the joint conference with Erdoğan, Pope said he hopes Turkey can be a “great peacemaker,” while warning against “fanaticism and fundamentalism.” Turkish President Erdoğan, meanwhile, expressed disillusionment about the international response to the massacres in Syria and the coup in Egypt. Pope Francis had hosted Egyptian President Abdulfattah al-Sisi only four days ago in Vatican.
On the eve of his trip, Pope Francis repeated that it was legitimate to use force to stop the advance of the ISIL, but only with the endorsement of the international community. Asked whether dialogue was possible with a group that is targeting religious minorities, the pope said, “Maybe you can’t have dialogue, but you must never close the door.”
During his visit to Istanbul on Nov. 29-30, the Pope visited the Hagia Sophia Museum, originally built as an Eastern Orthodox cathedral in the 6th century before being converted into a mosque after the Ottoman conquest in 1453. It is now open to the public as a museum.
He also visited the Blue Mosque and celebratde Mass at the Catholic Cathedral of the Holy Spirit.
Pope Francis later offered a prayer at the Orthodox Patriarchal Church of St. George, followed by a private meeting with Greek Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomew I. He celebrated a private Mass on Nov. 30, followed by a divine liturgy and the signing of a joint declaration with Patriarch Bartholomew.
Source : Hurriyet Daily News