Pope Francis is in Turkey

Pope Francis is in Turkey

Dr. Akkan Suver
Pope Francis will soon arrive in Turkey.

This official visit, which will start today, carries great importance and many opportunities for the advance of peace. The Pope, who was appointed on March 2013, has previously visited Brazil, the Holy Land (Palestine, Jordan and Israel), South Korea and Albania. Before his visit to Turkey, he made a speech in the European Parliament.

At last Wednesday’s traditional gathering, the Pope spoke of his upcoming visit to Turkey:

“As you all know, I have a trip to Turkey this Friday through Sunday. Petrus is visiting his brother Andreas, with this occasion I invite you all to pray to God to send us the fruits of the peace, sincere dialogue between our religions and long lasting togetherness with the Turkish nation” he said.

Pope Francis will first visit the founder of the Turkish Republic Mustafa Kemal Atatürk’s mausoleum in the capital Ankara. Then he will meet with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, as well as Turkish officials, including the head of Religious Affairs (Diyanet) of Turkey, Mehmet Görmez. He will then go to Istanbul to come together with Patriarch Bartholomew I.

The importance of Pope Francis’ visit stems from the fact that it comes as a continuation of his earlier visit to the holy lands with Patriarch Bartholomew. They held a successful visit to Palestine, Jordan and Israel.

Violence and terror intensifying each day in the Middle East threatens the future of humanity regionally and globally. But to be remembered in the Holy Land, the Pope and Patriarch Bartholomew presented a road map for peace between Palestine and Israel, bringing together Shimon Peres and Mahmoud Abbas.

Two weeks after that visit, Patriarch Bartholomew and Pope Francis hosted Abbas and Peres in the Vatican together. They held their ritual for regional peace and opened the door to peace.

However, the door to the opportunity of hope was closed again when two young Israelis were suddenly abducted and killed.

In these days, the Middle East is a bloodbath. The Pope’s visit is an opportunity to end terrorism and savageness.

Moreover, it is an opportunity for peace that Pope Francis will attend to the ritual of the establishment of the Patriarchate, “Saint Andrew’s Day” of Orthodox Christians, on Nov. 30.

The ecumenical prayer will draw the world’s attention for peace. We need permanent peace in the Middle East. Politicians have not been successful in providing peace, but maybe religious figures could succeed in this mission. The spiritual leaders of Orthodox Christians and Catholics had brought the Palestinians and the Israelis together in the Holy Land. This was a beginning, and there is now an opportunity for the Pope and Patriarch to speak on the need for world peace in Turkey.

Our region needs peace and tranquility.

Dr. Akkan Suver, President of the Marmara Group Foundation