Pope Gets Set to Visit Iconic Religious Sites in Istanbul – NBCNews.com
Pope Francis was set to visit two of Turkey’s most iconic sites as he shifted gears toward religious affairs upon his arrival in the city of Istanbul for the second leg of his three-day visit to the Muslim nation. Francis will tour Istanbul’s Sultan Ahmet mosque on Saturday and pause for a moment of “reflection,” the Vatican said. When Pope Benedict XVI visited Turkey in 2006 amid heightened Christian-Muslim tensions, the Vatican added a stop at the mosque at the last minute in a bid to show his respect for Islam.
The gesture was appreciated by many Turks, and Francis is set to follow in Benedict’s footsteps. Francis will also visit nearby Haghia Sofia, the Byzantine church-turned-mosque that is now a museum. All eyes will be on whether he prays at the sensitive site.
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– The Associated Press