Pope urges Turkey to help end regional, Middle East conflicts
Published: January 7, 2010
VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope Benedict XVI encouraged the government of Turkey to do all it could to help end long-standing conflicts in the region. "Territorial disputes and ethnic rivalries can only be satisfactorily resolved when the legitimate aspirations of each party are duly taken into account, past injustices acknowledged and, when possible, repaired," he said in a speech Jan. 7 welcoming Kenan Gursoy, Turkey's new ambassador to the Vatican. The pope said that Turkey, a secular democratic country that straddles Europe and Asia, "is well placed to act as a bridge between Islam and the West, and to make a significant contribution to the effort to bring peace and stability to the Middle East." Pope Benedict also asked that Turkey grant full legal recognition to the Catholic Church. While Turkish Catholics enjoy religious freedom in the country, he said, the church as a whole "is waiting for civil juridical recognition" under Turkish law. "This would help her to enjoy full religious freedom and to make an even greater contribution to society," the pope said. The ambassador assured the pope of Turkey's commitment to regional peace and security.
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