(Vatican Radio) Ahead of his discourse to Turkish authorities on Friday, Pope Francis spent one hour in private conversation with the President of the Republic Recep Tayyip Erdogan, far beyond the allotted time.
Vatican Radio journalist Philippa Hitchen caught up with the Director of the Holy See press office, Fr. Federico Lombardi, to find out what the Pope and the President discussed.
Listen to the full interview:
Fr Lombardi said the issues the two men discussed “were similar to the issues in the public speech.”
“I think that the president had the occasion to greet the Pope for coming for encouraging Turkey in this difficult time to engage for peace and for refugees that come from many lands. There are 2 million refugees actually in Turkey and Turkey does much for them,” he said.
“The Pope stresses that these are important contributions for peace. Then there was another aspect I think is important—freedom. That is, the Pope stressed that dignity of the person, the respect of the freedom to express themselves, is very important and it has not to be oppressed,” he continued.
“In this sense I think it is similar to what Benedict had as a message here in Turkey and for Islam in particular,” he said.
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