Weekend demonstrations in Turkey against the visit of Pope Benedict XV1 have sparked off some soul-searching in the Turkish press.
With the pontiff expected to arrive on Tuesday, commentators in two leading papers call for him to be given a traditionally warm Turkish welcome.
SEMIH IDIZ IN MILLIYET
Turkey and the Vatican are working to ensure some positive outcomes from this visit, which is surrounded by negative expectations. That is why, as Turks, no matter what he has said in the past, we have to be supremely hospitable towards Pope Benedict, not only for our own esteem and image but for inter-religious peace as well.
EDITORIAL IN CUMHURIYET
Some groups in our country have started a protest campaign against the Pope. It is true that Benedict XVI made disagreeable statements about Turkey and Islam. However, the Pope is visiting as our guest. Even small protests and acts of unkindness which are at odds with our traditional hospitality go against the grain and harm our country. We must take care not to affect our national interests.
YASIN AKTAY IN YENI SAFAK
There has always been opposition in Turkey to the visit of any Pope. Even if Pope Benedict had not made the comments about Islam and the Prophet [Muhammad], his visit to Turkey would have been the subject of many critiques and opposition. However, in the past, it was religious feelings which motivated the opposition, whereas now, because of this unfortunate speech, nationalist issues have come to the fore to spark the protests against the Vatican.
ALI BULAC IN ZAMAN
Benedict is certainly very different from his predecessors, not only in his beliefs and the way he interprets theology, but in his style too. He has two important aims: to unite Europe as an essentially Christian entity, and to prevent Christianity suffering a massive loss of credibility.
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