Pope Francis met with Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan this morning.
According to a statement released by the Holy See Press Office this morning, the Pope had cordial discussions with the president, during which they evoked the bilateral relations between the Holy See and Turkey.
Moreover, the statement noted, the parties spoke about the situation of the country, the condition of the Catholic community, efforts in the reception of the many refugees and the challenges linked to this.
“Attention then turned,” it continued, “to the situation in the Middle East, with particular reference to the status of Jerusalem, highlighting the need to promote peace and stability in the region through dialogue and negotiation, with respect for human rights and international law.”
After meeting with the Pope, the president met with Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin and Secretary for Relations with States, Archbishop Paul Gallagher.
Pope Francis visited Turkey, Nov. 28-30, 2014, visiting the cities of Ankara and Istanbul, during which he signed a declaration with Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew and also prayed in the Blue Mosque.
According to the Daily Sabah, a Turkish pro-government daily, leading up to today’s visit, Erdogan said he expected the visit to be a “significant opportunity” to convey messages of peace, during a news conference at Istanbul’s Atatürk Airport State Guest House.
“I see this visit,” the Turkish president told reporters, “as a significant opportunity in terms of drawing attention to common human values, friendship and peace message.”