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Pope In Turkey

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The pope is in Turkey today and it is an important visit. At a time when atrocities are happening in Syria/Iraq, the pope has prayed that Turkey can be a peacemaker between Muslims, Christians and Jews.

 

Mehmet Gormez, the top Islamic cleric in Turkey and has given an important speech. He discussed the media discussing muslims in hateful ways, the negative acts by israel on Al Aqsa, the importance of people to live by conscience, the importance of protecting minorities. He has spoken out against dirty politics which has used religion has a means of war. He also talked about the importance of religious communities to work together on common morals such as preventing poverty. 

 

We will see how the western media report on this, will there be as much coverage as ISIL has received or will it be another back page story?

 

If I find a full translation of his speech I shall post it here.

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Will there be as much coverage by the west as ISIL ? Only if the Pope starts beheading people and executing whole villages .

Edited by Aligarr

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Well that is exactly my point because the west only likes bad news. They don't want to show Muslims in a positive light. They have been complaining for months about how Islamic clerics need to speak out against the actions of terrorists. Here we have Mehmet Gormez, a top figure in religious terms in Turkey, and he was speaking out against such acts. Yet in all the media outlets I find the story focuses on what the pope had to say and how he urged muslims to speak out against extremism. They seem to leave out the part that Mehmet Gormez agreed with him. Mr Gormez also said that it is our responsibility as Muslims to look at the problems we have created ourselves and not be quick to always blame outside powers. I thought his speech was really important and it should have received more coverage in the western media. They also left out the part that the Turkish president gave the pope an Ottoman gift which represented the sultans protection for christian minorities in Bosnia during the 15th century.They seem to leave out the parts that Turkey urges the international community to hold Assad to account for his actions too. 

 

Yet time and time again it is clear that the media has an agenda against Muslims, although that is nothing new to us. 

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The "west likes bad news " ?   Really , what news is it that the Pope goes to Turkey ? Will he change the situation of Christians in Turkey ?  Will he change anything ?  

  Do you think the Pope went there to take sides in the conflicts between Muslims ?  Turkey is in fact sympathetic to ISIS if not for only one reason , they are killing Kurds . In Turkey Christians are harassed and in many cases persecuted . Just ask the Archbishop . Muslims don't care what the Pope says , unless it is something that favors their view . To Muslims the Pope is a Crusader . A gift is meaningless and we're long past the Fifteenth Century .  It is , as well as any speech, purely symbolic . Actions speak louder than words . The Pope will change nothing , nor will the Turkish attitude towards Christians change , if anything relations are getting worse , THAT is why the Pope went there to begin with .  Talk is cheap , that is why there is no great rush to splatter this visit over the Popes visit .

  Tell me true , do you  think anything the Pope has said or what  any Turkish minister says in a speech will change anything in the Syrian Conflict ? Or anything that ISIS is doing ? Or Turkish attitudes towards both ?  And what about the treatment of Christians there , do you think that will change  ?   That is why there is no NEWS about the Popes visit , other than the few mentions it has in fact received in Western news media .

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Yes Aligarr I do actually believe influential religious leaders can have an effect on how people view the Syrian conflict. I don't think that it can have a great deal of change on those involved presently in the conflict but it can have an effect on those who may be sympathetic to certain groups. It is important that those with proper religious authority are given a platform to speak so that people are aware of what is right and wrong. My point is that there are certain individuals who claim to be representatives of Islam and they have a great influence over people because of this but in reality they have not studied Islam properly. 

 

As for my own view, I have spent a lot of time living in Turkey where I can tell you that I have not come across major problems against Christians. People go to church openly, there is no secret about this. The government is currently renovating some ancient churches. I am not going to say there are no problems because christians are small in numbers in Turkey and like any country minority groups often face problems.There are obviously certain groups in society who try to make things difficult for minority groups, but I have to say that a lot of Turkish people do not have a problem with Christians. I wouldn't agree that its a bad place for Christians to live or something like that. We can't simplify things into Islam vs christianity especially since there are other factors at play such as nationalism.

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I would beg to differ with your assessment of the treatment of Christians in Turkey . Numerous Christians priest , prelates and journalists have been murdered in Turkey . Former Christian Churches have been used to facilitate Muslim prayers , and the Greatest of all Christian Cathedrals ,remains in "Museum Status " . Christians lack the same legal status as Muslims in Turkey . The only reason this Pope visited Turkey was in the hope that Erdigan could influence Muslim parties involved in the conflict to desist from such violence as has been witnessed, and also to stop the persecution of Syrian and Iraqi Christians at the hands of ISIS . His visit was nothing less than an appeal to religious leaders of Islam . And overall it did not go over to well at all .

Edited by Aligarr

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Numerous muslim journalists are also being persecuted in Turkey, that doesn't mean the state is anti-islamic. Rather the government is against those who are against them, they don't care what group you are from if you are writing a negative article about them. I know plenty of Muslims who do not like the current government just as I know some Christians in Turkey who do not support the current government. 

 

It is easy to go by media reports but until you live in a society then you can't really know what goes on. There have been unfortunate incidents that happened to Muslims in my country, but on the whole my country is a lot safer for Muslims to live than other European countries. If I were a foreign christian thinking of going to Turkey, after reading your post I would be scared. In reality though there is nothing to be scared of. People there go to church freely as I said and christians wear crosses around their neck freely. If it was such a fearful society people wouldn't do this. Many christians go to Turkey for tourism or studying and many expats choose to live there so it is not as bad as you are making it out to be. As I said of course there are problems but there isn't an everyday secret agenda against the christian population.

 

How could the pope get Erdogan to influence Muslim parties involved in the conflict? He clearly is not on good terms with Assad and after Turkish citizens were held hostages by ISIS, they are hardly best buddies. Everyone seems to want Turkey to get involved and do it alone forgetting that Turkey has already taken on a lot of the burden from this war with the amount of refugees it hosts. Turkey recognises that Assad must be removed because he is the root problem but the west are more interested in fixing the symptoms only. Turkey has a right to be cautious because as long as the root problem exists more symptoms will occur in the future. 

 

I got the impression that the reason the pope came was to encourage leaders to have a clearer stance on extremism in religion and also to build on christian unity with the orthodox church. I don't think his visit was a failure. 

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It was a failure inasmuch as encouraging Turkish leaders to take a stronger stance against ISIS . The Turks are reluctant to do anything besides hosting Syrian Refugees . They are not enthusiastic about assisting the Kurds in anything even though they want to see Assad removed . In addition the deep government of Turkey caters to the radical elements in that country whose position is even sympathetic to ISIS .  So much so that ISIS actually referred to "it's friends the Turks " , and were considering doing recruiting in Turkey . In a recent attack on Kobani ISIS actually attacked the City from three sides one of which was from Turkish Territory .

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Aligarr your information about the circumstances in Syria/Iraq are very misinformed and clearly you have been reading a lot of unconfirmed reports or 'opinion pieces'. To say that Turkey's stance on ISIS is related to its Kurdish issue is ridiculous. The current government has done more for the Kurdish population than any government before it and is currently going through very important peace talks with the Kurds which some groups are clearly trying to sabotage for their own interests. 

 

Turkey is against ISIS but they are not going to be hypocrites like US/Europe who seem to have forgotten about Assad. Their point is why should they go into a foreign land to defeat a group which will just return in another form while the root cause is still present. It is easy to say tell Turkey to get involved in militarily but whose troops will it be? Turkey would be the one who would suffer the burden from war. Turkey has been growing economically in the past few years and so some powers do not like this. They are trying to cause a civil war in Turkey by influencing the Kurdish population with false claims. If Turkey did not care for the Kurds then they would not have opened its doors to the refugees fleeing from Kobane. If they did not care about Kurds they would not be allowing peshmerga forces to pass through their borders.Trying to make this into a Kurdish issue is sick when the same people crying for the Kurds did not care about any other civilians who were their Muslim brothers and sisters. 

 

Yes Turkey were slow to react to the rise of ISIS but so too were many other powers. Other powers may like to get involved in foreign lands without understanding what is actually going on and without a plan in the future, but thankfully Turkey has not bowed to these desires. As regards to 'claims' that ISIS is operating from the Turkish border there is no substantial evidence to support this and Turkey has denied it and they are nothing but claims for now. Of course these claims come from those who have broader ambitions to divide Turkey. May God protect us from the liars and those who are trying to turn muslims against one another. 

 

I suppose we have also gone off topic here and if we should continue it should be in a different thread.

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Indeed there are those who seek to divide Turkey , and they are in Turkey , there are those who reject and joining of the EU , and are pushing for Islamic Unity . Erdigan ,is straddling the fence on major issues , as for the reasons the Pope visited , being the persecutions of Christians, nothing was accomplished .

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Are you Turkish Paradiselost?? )

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Ok, just wondered. :) me neither ;) although I have a friend who is married to a Turkish guy so do visit her now and again.

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The "west likes bad news " ?   Really , what news is it that the Pope goes to Turkey ? Will he change the situation of Christians in Turkey ?  Will he change anything ?  

 

Pope John Paul II was the main reason communism was brought down in Poland. Who knows, God has worked through individuals before in changing nations...

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Well perhaps his visit did have a positive influence..a new church has been given the go ahead to be built for the Syriac community in Istanbul. 

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