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Papal visit to Turkey might cause problems

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  • Bill Samsonoff
    2005.08.30 RIAN: Papal visit to Turkey might cause problems -- expert 30/ 08/ 2005 ANKARA, August 30 (RIA Novosti, Andrei Palaria) - The November 30 trip of
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 2, 2005
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      2005.08.30 RIAN: Papal visit to Turkey might cause problems -- expert

      30/ 08/ 2005
      ANKARA, August 30 (RIA Novosti, Andrei Palaria) - The November 30
      trip of Pope Benedict XVI to Turkey might lead to inter-faith
      problems, the head of a religious foundation in Turkey said.

      Muammer Karabulut, the chairman of the Saint Nicholas Foundation,
      said the concerns were related to the pontiff's support for the
      policy pursued by the Constantinople Patriarchate, which claimed
      jurisdiction over all eparchies beyond canonical territories
      belonging to Orthodox churches.

      "The trip is nothing other than a move aiming to secure international
      recognition for ecumenism (world-wide status) of the Constantinople
      Patriarchate," Karabulut said. "The Roman Catholic Church would be
      making an irrevocable mistake if it did this, so we believe it would
      be reasonable to postpone Benedict XVI's trip to Istanbul."

      He also said that the Constantinople Patriarchate had lost its
      ecumenism in 1434.

      The ecumenical work of the current patriarch of Constantinople,
      Bartholomew, has repeatedly led to disputes in recent years in
      Turkey's political circles over of the Patriarchate's status.

      Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul recently drew the line under
      arguments, by saying that the Constantinople Patriarchate would
      retain its current status under the 1923 Treaty of Lausanne, which
      also determined the current status of Turkey. The treaty "has no
      reference either to the patriarchate's or the patriarch's status,"
      the minister said.

      "If Benedict XVI visited Hagia Sophia Cathedral, [the Church of the
      Holy Wisdom in Istanbul], it would lead to unnecessary arguments and
      protests in Turkey," Karabulut said.

      Experts said the heightened interest in the pontiff's trip to
      Istanbul was due to upcoming discussions between Turkey and the
      European Union on the country's EU membership. European watchers have
      highlighted the differences between the positions of the pontiff and
      the Constantinople patriarch on the issue, because as Cardinal Joseph
      Ratzinger, prior to becoming the head of the Catholic Church, the
      current pope publicly opposed Turkish membership in the EU, whereas
      Patriarch Bartholomew supported it.
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