Turkey’s Erdogan Meets Pope to Talk ‘Rising Islamophobia in the West’

Vijeta Uniyal – February 5, 2018

Turkish President Recep Erdogan met with Pope Francis on Monday to discuss the “rising Islamophobia and cultural racism in the West,” Turkish media report.

Pope Francis and Erdogan agreed on “joint efforts against Islamophobia,” Turkey’s state-run news agency Anadolu claimed. Both leaders also concurred that “equating Islam with terror [was] wrong,” Turkish news agency added.

“We will discuss Palestine, Jerusalem, Syria, Iraq, the fight against terrorism, the problems of refugees, humanitarian aid and the fight against rising Islamophobia and cultural racism in the West,” Erdogan told reporters on Sunday before heading for Rome, the first Vatican visit by a Turkish President in nearly 60 years.

Erdogan, an ardent Islamist, is also leading a diplomatic campaign to challenge U.S. President Trump’s decision to formally recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Erdogan sought papal support for his efforts during the visit.