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m3n4.net July 17, 2018


Turkish president in Rome addresses European Union membership, Jerusalem status

06 February 2018, 01:45 | Tara Lloyd

Turkish president to meet Pope Francis in historic visit to the Vatican

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Thousands of police officers were deployed in Rome Monday to secure Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's visit with Pope Francis at the Vatican.

Erdoğan was also expected to meet with Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican's secretary of state.

Before his departure from Turkey, Erdogan said he and Vatican leaders would discuss Palestine, Jerusalem, Syria, Iraq, counterterrorism, refugee issues and humanitarian aid.

The Turkish leader is also due to meet Italian President Sergio Mattarella and Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni on Monday, as well as local business leaders.

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Francis and Erdogan last met in 2014 during the pope's visit to Turkey.

Both the Turkish and Vatican sides described the private talks as cordial.

They declared Trump's decision "null and void legally" and "a deliberate undermining of all peace efforts" that would give impetus to "extremism and terrorism".

After the meeting, the Pope gave Mr Erdogan a bronze medallion showing an angel embracing the world while battling a dragon.

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Pope Francis and later the European Union in 2015, the massacre's centennial, were trying to encourage Turkey "to recognize the Armenian genocide and thus pave the way for a genuine reconciliation between Turkish and Armenian peoples".

A Vatican statement issued following the meeting said discussions focussed on 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 global law".

Police earlier said around 150 people took part in the authorised demonstration, organised by Italy's Kurdistan Network, in the gardens of Castel Sant'Angelo, outside the "green zone" cordoned off by police in central Rome. Several also held signs calling for the release of Abdullah Öcalan, a Kurdish nationalist leader who has been jailed in Turkey since 1999. A protester was hurt and two were arrested. At least one demonstrator was injured, a witness told Reuters.

"In Afrin, a new crime against humanity is underway", said a Kurdish association based in Italy.

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