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Pope Francis receives 'Ottoman gifts' in Turkey

Ankara: Turkish authorities presented two Ottoman-themed gifts to Pope Francis during the first day of the pontiff's historic visit to Turkey.President Recep Tayyip Erdogan personally presented the first gift, an edict of Ottoman Sultan Mehmed
IANS November 29, 2014 10:32 IST
IANS

Ankara: Turkish authorities presented two Ottoman-themed gifts to Pope Francis during the first day of the pontiff's historic visit to Turkey.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan personally presented the first gift, an edict of Ottoman Sultan Mehmed II to the pope Friday in Ankara, Hurriyet Daily News reported.

Erdogan said that the edict was issued by the Ottoman state to protect the religious rights of the Christian clerics in Bosnia in the 15th century.

The second gift was a two-volume Turkish-German dictionary for Islamic and Christian terms, published by the Ankara University.

In return, Pope Francis gave Erdogan a mosaic work showing the River Tiber from the St. Angelo Castle in Italy.

Mehmet Gormez, the head of Turkey's Religious Affairs Directorate (Diyanet) gave Pope Francis copies of the letters written by Pope Pius X to Ottoman Sultan Abdulhamid II in the early 20th century.

Pope Francis' three-day tour is the fourth visit by a pontiff to Turkey.

On Saturday, he will visit Istanbul, where he is expected to visit the historic Hagia Sophia Museum and the Sultanahmet Mosque.

He will be later expected to celebrate mass in the Cathedral of the Holy Spirit in Harbiye.

The pope will also visit the Patriarchal Church of St. George in Istanbul, the seat of the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate, and meet Greek Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomew I.

Although some 80 million citizens of Turkey are Muslims, there are around 120,000 Christians in the country, once the centre of the Orthodox Christian world.