Kurds protest as Turkish leader meets pope

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It is a symbol of a world based on peace and justice Erdogan had been expected to discuss Jerusalem's status after the USA decision to recognize it as Israeli capital.

Pope Francis met with the President of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and his entourage on Monday at a private audience in the Vatican's Apostolic Palace.

Erdogan said he and the Pope had already spoken by telephone about the Jerusalem issue and said both of them favoured working to maintain the status quo for the city considered holy by three religions.

The Vatican is in favor of a two-state solution to the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians and hopes that both sides reach a consensus on the status of Jerusalem - which houses sacred sites for Muslims, Jews and Christians.

The Holy See says that both agreed on the need to promote peace in the Middle East through dialogue and negotiation, with respect for human rights and worldwide law.

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The Turkish president expressed his appreciation for the support by the pope on Jerusalem, while Pope Francis thanked President Erdoğan for efforts on Jerusalem and the humanitarian work for the refugees.

Erdogan said before he left Turkey that he would discuss the West Asia situation and Jerusalem in particular.

Erdogan recalled Pacaci to Turkey in 2015 when Francis became the first pope to publicly call the 1915 killing of as many as 1.5 million Armenians "genocide" - something Turkey has always denied.

Previously, it was speculated that the pope and Erdogan would also discuss the situation in Syria during the private portion of the meet. Francis denounced those who said "all Muslims are terrorists".

Erdogan's schedule also included lunch with Italy's president and a meeting with the Italian premier.

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During the meeting, Francis gave Erdogan a medallion with an image of an angel.

He also gave the Pope four books by Rumi Mevlana, an Iranian theologian who lived with dervishes in Turkey for many years, along with a copy of the Masnavi, which is a poem written by the Persian Sufi poet Rumi, and also two books about the poet's life.

The Vatican was then forced to refute claims from Turkey that Pope Francis had showed a "mentality of the Crusades" over his use of the term.

There were around 20 people in Erdogan's delegation, including his wife and son and his son-in-law, Turkey's minister of energy.

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