Holy See–Turkey relations
Holy See–Turkey relations are foreign relations between the Holy See and Turkey. Both countries established diplomatic relations in 1868. The Holy See has a nunciature in Ankara. Turkey has an embassy in Rome.
The Holy See has a history of difficult relations with Turkey, or rather with the Ottoman Empire, whose forces its European allies defeated at the battle of Lepanto and the battle of Vienna. The Holy See maintained positive relations with Armenia, even when it was under Ottoman rule. It was also involved in the Balkans and Greece at a time when nationalities were emancipating themselves from Turkish domination.
The Atatürk revolution did not really ease relations, since it led to the suppression of the millet system, which had previously guaranteed the rights of Christian minorities that were split in Byzantine, Latin, Armenian, Syriac and Greek-Melkite ethnic lines. This is in turn led to the assimilation of Turkey's Christian population into ethnic Turkish traditions and customs. Also, the Kemalist ideology was closely related to anticlericalism in France, a French republican ideology which had been hostile to the Church in Western Europe.
Pope Paul VI visited Turkey in July 1967 During his visit he met with Eastern Orthodox Patriarch Athenagoras I of Constantinople, Shenork I Kaloustian, Armenian Patriarch of Constantinople as well as members of the Muslim and Jewish communities.
In 2006, Pope Benedict XVI visited Turkey and its famous Blue Mosque. It was only the second time a sitting Pope was known to have entered a mosque and was part of his efforts to mend Muslim-Christian relations, but was overshadowed by the controversy surrounding lecture at Regensburg which was interpreted by some as an attempt to link Islam and violence. He was met with 25,000 nationalist and Islamist protesters when he arrived at Ankara.
The Holy See has maintained positive relations with the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople since the 1960s. The Ecumenical Patriarch who is based in current day İstanbul is not recognized as leader of the Eastern Orthodox by the Turkish government, which prefers to regard him as a local bishop. This non-recognition of the Patriarch is an issue in Holy See–Turkey relations.
The Church has also sought to have improved legal recognition of itself under Turkish law, which at present makes it difficult for Catholic bishops to be legally recognized in their exercise of Apostolic ministry, while at times the ownership of churches is put into question. Similar problems have come up with the Greek Patriarchate, whose seminary training was shut down by the Turkish state.
In 2000, John Paul II officially recognized the Armenian Genocide, an opposing position to that of the Turkish government which has deployed much of its political energies in having the events in Armenia remain unrecognized by the international community.
The Holy See has not taken a strong position on EU membership for Turkey, although Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger was said to be hostile to it in a book he published before becoming Pope, and felt that Turkey should instead focus on relations with nearby Middle Eastern States. However, during his 2006 trip to Turkey as Pope Benedict XVI, he came out in support of Turkeys EU membership.Tarcisio Bertone, the Holy See's Secretary of State, has voiced the opinions of the Apostolic See on these matters.
Tourism and pilgrimages
Relations exist between the Holy See and Turkey on the basis of tourism and pilgrimages. In the 2008-2009 Year of Saint-Paul, an agreement was reached between the two States in order to promote pilgrimages to Tarsus, the place that the apostle Paul was born. Other important pilgrimage sites include Selçuk, the old city of İstanbul, İznik (Nicaea), Bergama, İzmir (Smyrna), Manisa and Trabzon.
- Apostolic Journey to Istanbul, Ephesus and Smyrna 25 - 26 July 1967
- Letter to Patriarch Athenagoras concerning the reasons to promote the re-establishment of unity between the Western and Eastern Church (Istanbul, 25 July 1967)
- To the Armenian Patriarch His Beatitude Snork Kalustian (Istanbul, 25 July 1967)
- To the religious leader of the Muslim Community (Istanbul, 25 July 1967)
- To the religious leader of the Hebrew Community (Istanbul, 25 July 1967)
- To His Holiness Dimitrios, Patriarch of Constantinople (November 29, 1979)
- To the Armenian Patriarch of Istanbul (November 29, 1979)
- Eucharistic Celebration in Ephesus (November 30, 1979)
- Pope makes Turkish mosque visit
- Moore, Molly (November 27, 2006). "Turks Protest Pope's Coming Visit". The Washington Post. Retrieved May 8, 2010.
- Pope John Paul II recognises Armenian Genocide
- Pope makes Turkish mosque visit