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    President Sezer to the Pope: Come as our guests in 2006

    Hürriyet Haber
    16 Eylül 2005 - 10:30Son Güncelleme : 16 Eylül 2005 - 10:30

    Turkish President Ahmet Sezer has issued an official invitation from Ankara to Pope Benedict XVI to visit Turkey over the coming year. Sezer's invitation followed a diplomatic struggle in the Foreign Ministry over what to do in the wake of an earlier invitation issued to the Pope by the Greek Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomeus in Istanbul. Not wanting to have such an important relgious leader visit Turkey as the official guest of the Fener Patriarchate, the Ministry decided that the best way to avert such a situation was to invite Benedict XVI to come in 2006 as the guest of Ankara.

    President Sezer sent word of the invitation to Rome through the Vatican Embassy in Ankara two days ago. Answering question about the visit, Foreign Ministry spokesman Namil Tan said that now that he has an official invitation from the government, Pope Benedict may not want to take Patriarch Bartholomeus up on his invitation.
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