Pope Francis hosts Erdogan, then Chaldean clergy from Kurdistan

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By Rudaw
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (L) shakes hands with Pope Francis at the Vatican. Photo: AA
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region — Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan met with with Pope Francis at the Vatican on Monday morning. The Pope later hosted Chaldean Church leadership including Patriarch Sako.

A statement from the Turkish presidency said both Erdogan and his wife, Emine Erdogan, met with the Pope on Monday.

The Turkish president later met with Vatican Secretary of State Pietro Parolin and was also scheduled to meet Italian President Sergio Mattarella and Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni.

After Erdogan’s meeting, Pope Francis met with prelates of the Chaldean Church led by Patriarch of Babylonia of the Chaldeans in Iraq Louis Raphael I Sako.

Sako’s delegation included Chaldean dozens of clergy from Iran, Iraq, Syria, Egypt, and elsewhere.

On his departure, Erdogan said he planned to discuss the humanitarian situation in Syria, the battle against terrorism, Islamophobia, and the status of the city of Jerusalem.

He said that the United States is “alone” in its decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

It was the first official visit by a Turkish president to the Vatican in 59 years.

Rome deployed a total of 3,500 police for the visit, AFP reported, as Italian officials expected public protests against Turkey’s operation in Afrin.

A Kurdish association in Italy organized a sit-in protest by 200 people near the Vatican.

Background: Turkish delegation on 24-hour visit to Vatican