New Turkish Ambassador to the Holy See, received by Benedict XVI

Source: FSSPX News

On January 19, at the Vatican, Benedict XVI received the new Turkish ambassador to the Holy See Muammer Dogan Akdur, who came to present his credentials.

In his address to the Turkish diplomat, the pope said :”On this occasion, I would like to express my gratitude to the Turkish authorities and to the people of Turkey for their generous welcome during my pastoral visit last December. (…) During my various meetings with political leaders, I wanted to reaffirm the deep-rootedness of the Catholic Church in Turkish society, thanks to the prestigious heritage of the first Christian communities in Asia Minor, and to the indispensable contribution of the first ecumenical councils to the life of the Universal Church, but also, thanks to the Christian communities of today, minorities certainly, but  attached to their country and to the common good of  all society, wanting to make their own contribution to the building up of the Nation. The Catholic Church, which benefits from the religious liberty guaranteed to all believers by the Turkish constitution, would like to be able to enjoy a recognized juridical status, and see the establishment of an official organ of dialogue between the Bishop’s Conference and the State authorities, in order to resolve any problems which might arise, and to maintain good relations between the two parties. I have no doubt that your government will do everything in its power to promote this.”

 “During my memorable visit,” continued the Holy Father, “I expressed on many occasions, the respect of the Catholic Church for Islam, and the esteem of the pope and the faithful for Muslim believers, especially during my visit to the Blue Mosque in Istanbul. In today’s world, in which tensions seem to be heightened, the conviction of the Holy See, which is in accord with what you have just said, is that believers of different religions must strive to work together for peace, starting by condemning the violence, used too often in the past on the pretext of religious motivation, and learning to better know and respect each other, in order to build an ever more fraternal society.”

 Benedict XVI added: “As I recalled recently in Ankara, the Holy See recognizes Turkey’s specific  position and her geographical and historical place as a bridge between cultures and religions. It appreciates the commitment of your country within the international community, in favor of peace. In particular, her action in resuming negotiations in the Middle East and her current involvement in Lebanon, in helping to rebuild this war-ravaged country and in making possible constructive dialogue between all the parties in Lebanese society.”

 For his part, the new Turkish ambassador said the pope’s visit was “an unprecedented historical development” in relations between his country and the Holy See. While contributing to “giving renewed impetus to the good relations maintained “ between the two States, and showing “to the world, an exemplary image of mutual understanding and spiritual convergence”, this visit has enabled us to “smooth out certain misunderstandings” and to “strengthen religious and cultural dialogue.”

 Recalling that the Turkish State  “treated all religious communities on an equal footing”, Muammer Dogan Akdur referred to Turkey’s wish for entry into the European Union and UNO Security Council during the period 2009-2010.