Every frame of Papa Francesco’s visit, which had been broadcasted live on TV, was restoring the honor of Turkey’s centralizing role in the world, and the magnificence of the Sultanahmet Mosque and Hagia Sophia was abundantly presenting the signals regarding the grace of living together, conversation and differentiations.
The long prayer Papa Francesco had said together with İstanbul Mufti Prof. Dr. Rahmi Yaran at the Sultanahmet Mosque was crucial regarding the displayed peace image and the given messages. Christians (excluding Protestants) start their prayers by crossing themselves with one hand, and end the prayer with the same manner. Also, I, out of respect, never cross myself in other houses of prayer other than a church. Because, I don’t really relish the religion nationalism that is stuck in symbolism, not at all. By not crossing himself in his prayer, the Pope had displayed this politeness. Also, by reading the versicles related to Christianity from the Quran, Mr. Yaran had also presented his graceful home ownership.
As for Hagia Sophia, the Pope had presented a more neutral attitude there. If he had prayed there, this would be regarded as a message to the church side of Hagia Sophia, and thus, would have given birth to an unnecessary argument.
During the meeting between the Pope and President Mr. Erdoğan, it was expected that the Pope would say something about the invasion of the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Palestine problem, or present an attitude of taking on responsibility. Actually, you already know that in May he had visited Palestine. In his visit, by passing directly to the Western Bank, rather than through Israel, he had given a crucial message. He had stopped at the checkpoint and prayed for peace under the “Independent Palestine” board.
Such type of behavior includes a clarity, to which most Western statesmen are unable to resort. Knowing that the collapse of the Warsaw Alliance and USSR had accelerated after Pope Jean Paul II’s visit will be useful in showing the meaning behind the Palestine visit.
Such types of visits are quite important. Mutually exceeding the prejudices will be increasing the collaborations of the believers’ potentials towards peace (in the sense of justice diminution). The previous Pope Benedict XVI’s stance against Islam’s and Turkey’s EU membership in his Regensburg speech had aroused critical hesitations before his Turkey visit in November 2006. However, right at the beginning of the Pope Benedict XVI’s visit, he had said, “We are supporting Turkey’s EU membership”, to Prime Minister Erdoğan. Also, upon his departure, he had said, “I’m leaving a part of my heart in this beautiful country.”
It is necessary to pay attention to Pope Francesco’s “weapons will not be sufficient for resolution” designation and “God, who possess everything, shall protect and pursue Turkey, and make it the constructor of a permanent peace” prayer. As much as being a prayer, this is also crucial in the sense of the central importance of Turkey, in the name of peace, being declared to the world by the Vatican. Especially while the new and national Turkey is under the oppression of disinformation in a global scale…
While criticizing the insensitivity towards Islamphobia, Palestine, Syria and the Middle East problems and saying, “For example, we are observing with sorrow as the Muslims are being assimilated with terrorism in the Western World”, Mr. Erdoğan didn’t leave out saying, “Also, we are regretfully observing the perceptions that approach the Christians with violence in the Muslim world”. However, such a complete approach will provide moral supremacy, will be fair, and obviates Turkey from being forced to a denominational corner.
While Turkey is advancing towards complete independency in an ominous/sorrowful way, this progress also burdens Turkey with a special mission in the world peace, starting from Middle East, and in the anthropocentric renewal of the 20th Century status quo. Otherwise, a mission no better than Sisi’s Egypt mission would have been given to Turkey.
In this sense, without feeling any complex, it is beneficial to increase alliances by paying attention to the prejudices within as much as the prejudices directed towards us, and by cleaning them out. For example, during his speech at the Europe Parliament, the Pope mentioned that the Mediterranean Sea had become the sea of death for immigrants, and Europe started look like a granny and lost all its energy. The Papacy’s definition of secularism is also coinciding with Erdoğan’s definition, which he had state in his Egypt visit; “In the sense of separating religion and state tasks from each other, yes to secularism; however, in the sense of excluding religion from the public field, no to secularism.”
From now on, even if Turkey desires to, it cannot run away from its increasing role in the world. Turkey’s independency had advanced to a definition that exceeds itself. Thus, we are face to face with the responsibility of rapidly regulating our interior, breaking the guardianship, and be a hope/guide/example for the world.