The pope receives Erdoğan

The meeting that took place between Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Pope Francis on Monday in the Vatican is regarded as a special occasion in several respects. It was the first time in almost 60 years that a Turkish president visited the pope. Moreover, diplomatic relations between the two sides have been tense in recent years. What can the meeting achieve?

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ABC (ES) /

Chance for a fresh start

Erdoğan's visit to the pope could mark the start of better relations between Ankara and the Vatican, ABC comments:

“The meeting lasted almost an hour, longer than usual. ... The conversation revolved around Jerusalem now that the US has recognised the holy city as the capital of Israel. Turkey sees this as a breach of international law. Erdoğan is in favour of preserving Jerusalem's 'status quo', a position which coincides with that of the Vatican. Ankara and Rome appear to have overcome the tensions that arose between them when, in a speech he made in 2015, the pope alluded to the 'Armenian genocide' perpetrated by the Turks in the First World War. Words which Erdoğan, who denies this holocaust, described as 'stupid' and 'delirious'.”

Karar (TR) /

Time for an end to the conspiracy theories

And Karar even hopes that the meeting will pave the way for better relations with the EU:

“Now that such good relations have been established with the pope it would only be right to also stop referring to the EU as a 'crusader' or 'Christian Union'. Not just out of politeness but because Europe, which is 50 percent atheist, is not on a crusade. And because the world is not an eternal battlefield for wars between religions. In short: after this warm-hearted visit to the Vatican we can safely abandon all our conspiracy theories about a global alliance of crusaders that has formed against us. At least during this pope's term in office there is no sign of a crusade on the horizon”

Corriere della Sera (IT) /

A good telling-off from the pope

Corriere della Sera is less convinced that the meeting was so warm-hearted:

“There weren't many friendly smiles for Erdoğan during his visit - either from Francis or from our president or head of government. The hypocrisy that is often part of official visits gave way to cool, diplomatic protocol. ... The pope, meanwhile, did well to present Erdoğan with a medal engraved with an angel of peace 'who defeats the demon of war' [as the pope explained]. A highly symbolic gift. The sultan had attempted to play up to the pope by praising the joint stance on the Jerusalem issue. But he was forced to listen to frank words about human rights violations and the bombing attacks against Syrian Kurds in Afrin.”