Vatican, not Turkey, named as fair guest

Vatican, not Turkey, named as fair guest

ROME - Doğan News Agency
Vatican, not Turkey, named as fair guest

The International Turin Book Fair was expected to invite Turkey as the honorary guest next year. But, according to officials, the current political and social situation in Turkey prevented it.

The Vatican was announced as the honorary guest of the 27th edition of a book fair to be held in the northern Italian city of Turin next year despite earlier expectations that Turkey would be the honorary guest of the event.

“We had problems of communication with Turkey about this issue. The current political and complicated social situation in the country was also one of the reasons,” said International Turin Book Fair President Rolando Picchioni. “We didn’t even know who we needed to get in touch with [for the candidacy].”

The fair, which is organized every year in May, hosted Israel this year for the event, which drew 300,000 people. During the closing meeting of the fair this year, Turkey and Papua New Guinea were announced as the candidates to be honorary guests at next year’s event. But in a surprise development, the Vatican, whose name was not even mentioned before, was announced as the honorary guest at a press conference held July 12.

Referring to the change in the fair program, daily Corriere della Serra wrote “Turkey out, Vatican in.” The newspaper explained the reason saying the sales of religious books had increased in four months with the newly installed Pope Francis, who has the philosophy of “a church which is poor and for the poor.”

‘Some reasons emerged’

“Actually, we would have hosted the Vatican in 2015 due the 200th birth year of St. John Bosco, who lived in Turin, but some reasons have emerged to accelerate it,” Picchioni said at a press conference, adding that the Vatican would join the fair for the first time.