Vatican confirms Pope's trip to Turkey to go ahead
(AFP) - Pope Benedict XVI will visit Turkey next month for his first trip to a Muslim majority country since the row stirred up by his recent remarks about Islam, the Vatican has confirmed.
The visit, which Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone said Saturday would offer a chance for dialogue between religions, will take place from November 28 to December 1, the Vatican press office said Monday.
According to his published programme, the pope will arrive in Ankara, then go on to Izmir and Ephesus on November 29, ending up in Istanbul where he will stay until the end of his visit, reports Trend.
Bertone said in a religious television programme on Saturday that "the desire of the pope, the holy see and the Catholic church is to continue dialogue," the Ansa news agency reported.
Catholics and Muslims can and should share values "which are essential for the fate and future of humanity," he said, adding that this was what should be read into the pope's address last month.
A furore erupted in the Muslim world when the pope quoted a medieval Christian emperor who equated Islam with violence in his September 12 speech at the University of Regensburg in Germany.
The pontiff later apologized for the offence he had called without explicitly retracting the comments themselves.
Bertone said the speech was "a call for cooperation between the Christian and Muslim faiths to share ... the common moral objectives which our modern world cannot renounce."
The pope's visit to Turkey from November 28-30, his first to a Muslim country since he took office in April last year, would be "an occasion for dialogue and meetings with religious and political representatives," he added.