Pope set to visit Turkey under security clampdown
Fevzi Kızılkoyun ANKARA
Pope Francis is set to visit Turkey on Nov. 28 to meet with top officials and religious leaders under strict security measures.Pope Francis is set to visit Turkey on Nov. 28 to meet with Turkish politicians and religious leaders under strict security measures.
Addressing the crowds in his weekly speech at St Peter’s Square on Nov. 26, the leader of the Catholic Church asked “the faithful” to pray for his upcoming journey to Turkey, which he said is “a visit that promotes the fruits of peace, sincere dialogue between religions and harmony in the Turkish nation.”
Ankara, the first stop on the cleric’s tour, has been put under a tight security clampdown ahead of his three-day visit, which begins tomorrow.
Around 1,000 police officers are expected to be deployed along the roads that will be used by Pope in Ankara for his single day in the capital.
Overall, up to 2,700 police will be on duty, while dozens of riot control vehicles will be deployed to several parts of the city.
An Ankara court has also issued a general search warrant for the routes that will used by the Pope, allowing the police to freely carry out search and control procedures for four days.
Pope Francis is scheduled to touch down in Ankara at 1 p.m. local time (10:00 GMT) on Nov. 28, and to depart from Istanbul at 4:45 p.m. (13:45 GMT) on Nov. 30.
He will be the fourth pope to visit Turkey.
During his three-day visit, the spiritual leader of the world’s 1 billion Catholics will meet President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Turkey’s top Muslim cleric, Mehmet Görmez.
The Supreme Pontiff will hold a Holy Mass at the Catholic Cathedral of the Holy Spirit in Istanbul and privately meet Istanbul-based Greek Patriarch Bartholomew I, the spiritual leader of the world’s Eastern Orthodox churches.
The Pope is also expected to visit the mausoleum of Turkey’s founder, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk in Ankara, the Hagia Sofia museum in Istanbul, and the Sultan Ahmet (Blue) Mosque in Istanbul.