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    Pope's planned visit a test of relationships

    Hürriyet Haber
    17 Şubat 2006 - 12:15Son Güncelleme : 17 Şubat 2006 - 12:15

    A planned trip to Turkey by Pope Benedict XVI will be a critical test of Christian-Muslim relations, said a top Roman Catholic official on Wednesday. "Now (the trip) becomes very serious," Cardinal Walter Kasper, head of the Vatican's office for Christian unity, told The Associated Press during a gathering of Christian leaders and envoys hosted by the World Council of Churches, after an article appeared in a Vatican newspaper linking the killing of a Catholic priest in Turkey to protests over the cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad.

    The planned papal November visit could be used to press Turkey on lessening restrictions on Christian churches and school, suggest Kasper. The trip to Turkey, Pope Benedict XVI's first to a Muslim country was announced just days after the Feb. 5 killing of an Italian priest, the Rev. Andrea Santoro, in the Black Sea city of Trabzon.

    "Santoro's death is a shock also for Turkey to open itself a little bit to Christians," Kasper said. "I think this could be reason to reflect about it and have more openness to other religions."

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