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Last Updated: Monday, 16 October 2006, 11:25 GMT 12:25 UK
Pope to visit Turkey despite row
Pope Benedict XVI
The Pope expressed regret over the anger the remarks caused
The Vatican has confirmed that Pope Benedict XVI will travel to Turkey in November, his first visit to a predominantly Muslim country.

The Pontiff will visit Ankara, Izmir, Istanbul and ancient Ephesus during the trip, which will begin on 28 November.

The trip has been overshadowed by a row over remarks he made about Islam.

Muslims were angered when the Pope quoted a 14th Century Christian emperor who said the Prophet Mohammed had brought only "evil and inhuman" things.

In the speech at Regensburg University in September, Pope Benedict explored the historical and philosophical differences between Islam and Christianity, and the relationship between violence and faith.

Stressing that they were not his own words, he quoted Emperor Manuel II Paleologos of the Byzantine Empire, the Orthodox Christian empire which had its capital in what is now the Turkish city of Istanbul.

The speech sparked several days of protests in Muslim countries and calls for an unequivocal apology.

In response the Pope said that the remarks had been "misunderstood" and that he regretted the reaction they had caused.

The visit, which will run until 1 December, is the result of an official invite by the Turkish government.

The Pontiff will begin his tour with a one-night stay in Ankara, capital of the officially secular state. The second night will be spent in Ephesus - home to an ancient Christian community.

The Pope will then spend two nights in Istanbul, Turkey's largest city and the place where Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomew I is based.

Pope Benedict will call upon the patriarch, who is the spiritual leader of the world's Orthodox Christians.

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