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Erdogan writes to Pope Francis on Gaza genocide, calls for action
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The letter, which was conveyed during a meeting between the President of Religious Affairs, Ali Erbaş, and Pope Francis at the Vatican City State, emphasized the need for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza.

President Erdoğan stated the following in his letter:

"Your Holiness Pope Francis,

On the occasion of your reception of the President of Religious Affairs, I would like to convey my respect and affection.

I am pleased to witness that the historically deep relations between Türkiye and the Holy See are increasingly gaining momentum.

Türkiye, while supporting the territorial integrity of Ukraine since the illegal annexation of Crimea in 2014, with its motto of humanitarian diplomacy, has also been, and continues to be, at the forefront in the defence of the right to life of the innocent Palestinian civilians and their just cause.

Türkiye has become the second country providing the most aid to Gaza, with nearly 45,000 tonnes of humanitarian supplies since October 7, 2023. The treatment of 429 sick and wounded Gazans, including Christians, with 450 persons accompanying them, continues in Türkiye.

Humanity, which is aware of the fact that killing is forbidden by all celestial religions, must no longer allow international law and international humanitarian law to be trampled on in Gaza. It must raise its voice against the deliberate bombing of hospitals, schools, mosques and churches that should not be violated, even in war time.

It is impossible to establish lasting peace and stability in the Middle East without a just solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. An independent, sovereign and geographically integrated Palestinian State within the 1967 borders, with East Jerusalem as its capital, must emerge and take its place in the global system as an equal member of the international community.

His Holiness Pope Francis, Spiritual Leader of the Catholic World Vatican City

The challenges that we face, particularly the indiscriminate Israeli attacks in Gaza, where deaths by starvation occur due to the failure to deliver humanitarian aid even during the holy month of Ramadan, and the global impact of the Ukraine War, which is now in its third year, require the international community to act in cooperation and coordination.

Considering the recent trends that threaten inter-communal peace and stability, such as Islamophobia, racism and xenophobia, which are spreading worldwide, our world, more than ever in history, needs inclusive and rational policies, as well as actors who can hold a dialogue with all the parties, under all circumstances.

With this mindset, we are determined to further develop our dialogue and cooperation with the Holy See to promote a culture of peaceful coexistence and mutual understanding, on the basis of our common human values and our aim to serve world peace.

I avail myself of this opportunity to reiterate my sincere wishes for Your Holiness' health and prosperity, on behalf of my People and myself."

Pope Francis thanks President Erdoğan for his contributions to world peace

President of Religious Affairs Prof Ali Erbaş said that Pope Francis, the spiritual leader of Catholic Christians and Head of the Vatican City, emphasized that President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is one of the select few leaders who is both capable of and works hard for securing world peace and thanked President Erdoğan for his contributions.

This morning, President of Religious Affairs Erbaş, who is in Rome for meetings with the Vatican and Italy, met with Pope Francis at the Vatican City State.

Following his meeting with the Pope, President of Religious Affairs Erbaş addressed the press at the Turkish Embassy in the Vatican.

President of Religious Affairs Erbaş stated that they are here to hold the general assembly of the Foundation, which was established to provide religious services more closely to thousands of citizens in Italy, adding, "We had a fruitful meeting with Pope Francis, the spiritual leader of the Catholic world and Head of the Vatican City State, while we are in Italy for this occasion.

Religious Affairs President Erbaş delivers President Erdoğan's letter on Palestine to the Pope

President of Religious Affairs Erbaş stated that their meeting with the Pope centered on the situation in Palestine and Gaza and that President Erdoğan had addressed a letter to the spiritual leader of Catholic Christians regarding this matter, and added:

"During this meeting, we gave Pope Francis our President's letter, which contains statements regarding significant topics on the global agenda, including what is transpiring in Palestine. In his letter, our President stated that it is impossible to establish lasting peace and stability in the Middle East without a just solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. His letter also conveyed the message that an independent, sovereign, and geographically integrated Palestinian state within the 1967 borders, with East Jerusalem as its capital, must emerge and take its place in the global system as an equal member of the international community."

The meeting's main agenda items included Palestinian-Israeli conflict and developments in Gaza

President of Religious Affairs Erbaş also said the following about his meeting with the Pope:

"Our meeting revolved primarily around Israel's killings, atrocities, and crimes against humanity in Palestine. We are up against a scenario in which Israel is oppressing Jerusalem, a symbol of peace and coexistence, killing and destroying everyone and everything indiscriminately, whether they are Muslims or Christians, innocent babies or children, mosques or churches, young, elderly, sick, or women. We articulated the necessity of a united effort to resolve this crisis and increase global awareness regarding Palestine, Gaza, and the cessation of Israeli oppression. Pope Francis emphasised that our President is one of the select few leaders who is both capable of and works hard for securing world peace. Therefore, he requested that we convey his personal regards and stated, "He has my sincere gratitude for his efforts."

Another subject of discussion between President of Religious Affairs Erbaş and the Pope was family

President of Religious Affairs Erbaş added that family affairs were also deliberated upon during discussions, saying, "We conferred upon the significance of the family as well as the factors that pose a threat to it. We also engaged in an exchange regarding the environment, and the world, which is our common home and is entrusted to us. Together, we debated measures that can be taken to safeguard the environment, the family, and the world at large. Regarding these issues, the Pope reiterated that much work remains to be done and gave his thanks to our President for his efforts and perseverance in the pursuit of global peace."

President of Religious Affairs Erbaş highlighted the significance of this visit by stating, "I pray to Allah that the bloodshed, oppression, massacre, and genocide that have occurred in Gaza will cease. We place great emphasis on bringing this situation back to the attention of entire humanity and on people coming together to mobilise; action in this respect should come from all spheres of society and from authorities, with the urgent need being the establishment of a ceasefire. I believe this meeting will play a crucial role in accomplishing this goal."

In response to a question regarding whether the meeting addressed other Middle Eastern tensions, President of Religious Affairs Erbaş stated, "We refrained from delving into these matters in great detail. Our main emphasis was on achieving global peace and promptly halting the massacre in Gaza.

He expressed gratitude to Türkiye for its contributions. He acknowledged and offered gratitude to our President, stating that he fondly recalls his efforts on this matter among world leaders." (ILKHA)



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