Pope Courts Turkey Before Visit

Two days ahead of a visit already met by massive protests, the Vatican seemed to be courting Turkey denying opposition to the Muslim country’s EU membership, while Pope Benedict XVI sent “cordial greetings” to the Turkish people on November 26.

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Two days ahead of a visit already met by massive protests, the Vatican seemed to be courting Turkey denying opposition to the Muslim country’s EU membership, while Pope Benedict XVI sent “cordial greetings” to the Turkish people on November 26.

“I would like now to send my cordial greetings to the dear Turkish people, whose history and culture are so rich,” the pontiff said in his homily.

“To these people and their leaders, I express my esteemed sentiments and sincere friendship.”

The pontiff was on a four-day visit to Turkey , his first to a Muslim country, starting from November 28.

Turkish Environment Minister Osman Pepe’s press advisor Tacettin Ural has resigned under pressure for having written a book with critical and sometimes offensive comments about the Vatican .

In his book, Ural describes the Vatican as “an enemy of progress” and characterizes Catholic Church leaders with “moral weakness in the name of hedonism” and financial corruption.

“As you know, we are going through difficult times,” the popular daily Sabah quoted Ural as saying after his resignation.

In remarks to Milliyet, Ural said the book, The Pope Is An Idol was based not on personal convictions, but historic research and press reports. “It is in no way a book targeting the pope’s visit,” he said.

It also contains a chapter called “ Rome , a huge brothel,” which tells about debauchery in the Vatican in the 9th century.