On trip to Turkey, Pope Francis calls for dialogue in battling ISIS

The New York Times reports: In his first visit as pope to a predominantly Muslim country, Pope Francis said in Turkey on Friday that interreligious dialogue, more than just military action, was required to combat Islamic State militants who are attacking Christians and other religious minorities along the country’s southern border.

“To this end, it is essential that all citizens — Muslim, Jewish and Christian — both in the provision and practice of the law, enjoy the same rights and respect the same duties,” the pope said in a televised speech from President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s presidential palace in Ankara. “They will then find it easier to see each other as brothers and sisters who are traveling the same path, seeking always to reject misunderstandings while promoting cooperation and concord.”

The pope emphasized the need to focus on commonalities of faith and the value of learning from religious differences to repair relations between Christians and Muslims. [Continue reading…]

The Guardian reports: Francis will also walk straight into another controversy when he visits the Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s new palace built on once-protected farm and and forest in Ankara. He will the first foreign dignitary to be hosted at the lavish, 1,000-room complex.

The palace, which dwarfs the White House and other European government palaces, cost of £394m. It has drawn the ire of opposition parties, environmentalists, human rights activists and architects who say it is too extravagant, has damaged the environment and was built despite a court injunction against it.

Erdoğan brazenly dismissed the court ruling. “Let them knock it down if they have the power,” he said.

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