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

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

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Pope Francis will meet in Rome today, the first visit by a Turkish leader in

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Photo: Hurriyet

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Pope Francis will meet in Rome today, the first visit by a Turkish leader in over half a century. According to a Turkish press release, the pair will discuss a various topics focusing on the status of Jerusalem.

United by common goals of peace in the fractured Middle East, Francis and Erdogan’s relationship has warmed since a 2016 dispute regarding the Armenian Genocide. Both Francis and Erdogan have publicly opposed US President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s official capital. Fearing increased tensions in the region, the two leaders will consider potential plans of action. A joint statement reaffirming the city’s disputed status is likely and may call on the UN and Israel to cooperate with East Jerusalem Palestinians.

The outcomes of these talks have wide-ranging implications, not least of which is the future of US-Turkish relations. With Erdogan growing closer to Moscow and opposing Syrian Kurds, this meeting is yet another point of contention with the US. Expect Trump to denounce the meeting’s outcome and to refuse backing down from his stance on Jerusalem, a reaction that may further polarise relations between these major regional actors.

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