Erdogan meets Pope Francis who gives him "an angel against war". Protests and fights
Among the gifts of the Pontiff a medallion that "is the symbol of a world based on peace and justice". The Turkish president is on a state visit to Rome. After Francis he met the President of the Republic Mattarella and Premier Gentiloni. Pro-Kurdish demonstrations and unrest in Rome, Venice and Naples. The Netherlands withdraws its ambassador from Ankara.
The meeting between Pope Francis and Recep Tayyip Erdogan lasted over 50 minutes . The Turkish president was accompanied by his wife and a retinue of about 20 people, including 5 ministers (Foreign, Energy, Relations with Europe, Economics and Defense) for the first visit of an head of state of Ankara in the Vatican from 59 years: a half-hour meeting followed by 'face to face' with the Secretary of State and then a view of the whole of St. Peter's Basilica. Also present was Erdogan's daughter, Esra (wife of the Minister of Energy). Among the gifts offered by the Pope, a medallion depicting an angel. "This is the angel of peace that strangles the demon of war," he said. "IS'
The pontiff, in addition to the medallion with the angel of peace, donated to Erdogan an etching with the design of the basilica of St. Peter as it was in 1600, a copy of the encyclical "Laudato sì" and his Message for the Day of peace this year. Instead, Erdogan donated to the Pope a large ceramic picture with the panorama of Istanbul and a box set of books by the Muslim theologian Mevlana Rumi. At the end of the meeting, after the delegation's departure, Pope Francis accompanied Erdogan and his wife Emine to the door, who greeted him with a little bow and hand on the heart. During the farewell greetings, responding to the Pope and his invitation to pray for him, Erdogan said "We too are waiting for a prayer from you".
The Turkish president,, arrived in the Vatican just before 10 am. At the center of the dialogue between the Pope and the head of the Turkish state there was the question of Jerusalem, recognized as the capital of Israel by the Trump administration among the protests of Middle Eastern capitals. The Pontiff and the Turkish president have faced the crisis in the Middle East, "highlighting - explains a Vatican statement - the need to promote peace and stability in the region through dialogue and negotiation, respecting human rights and rights international". The note from the Vatican Press Office adds that other themes were the "bilateral relations between the Holy See and Turkey and the situation of the country, the condition of the Catholic community, the commitment to welcome the numerous refugees and the challenges to it connected ".
On a state visit to Rome,, with whom he spoke at breakfast, explained a note from the Quirinale, "present the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Angelino Alfano". An interview with a "respectful and frank" tone, we learn, on the main topics on the agenda: the situation in Syria and Libya, the issue of respect for human rights. Themes for which the Head of State has reiterated the positions of Italy and the European Union, finding defense of his views on the part of Erdogan on Syria and human rights. Proximity was instead recorded on the approach to the events related to Libya. As for bilateral relations, they are good and Italy's interest remains that the dialogue with Ankara continues.
Paolo Gentiloni at Palazzo Chigi, where Erdogan is crossing a historical center literally armored by security forces. Gentiloni welcomed the guest and introduced him to the headquarters of the government, the picket of honor deployed in the inner courtyard, present, in addition to Alfano also the Ministers of Defense and Economic Development, Roberta Pinotti and Carlo Calenda. Erdogan left Palazzo Chigi after an hour and a half in conversation with Gentiloni.
Meanwhile, there were clashes between demonstrators and police at the protest sit-in against Erdogan's visit to Rome. A protest demonstration against Erdogan in the gardens of Castel Sant'Angelo by the Kurdish community residing in Italy after the offensive of the Turkish army in Afrin , in northern Syria, which has sparked many protests in the world. Among the banners displayed "Turkish state killer", "Boia Erdogan! Hands off from Kurdistan", "Erdogan = Turkey highway for terrorists".
The sit-in was launched by the Kurdistan Italia Network. At the end of the event a group of participants, behind the banner "Erdogan boia", tried to leave with an unauthorized procession towards St. Peter. The police, in riot gear, charged them. The budget is of an injured person, two arrested and 18 identified among the demonstrators for the "violent assault on the police".
This morning also in Venice, in front of the Basilica of San Marco, and in Naples, where some activists of the 'Napoli per Afrin' committee symbolically occupied the headquarters of the Chamber of Commerce, exposing on one of the balconies of the façade a protest banner for the visit of the Turkish president in Rome. In addition to the words 'Erdogan no welcome' and 'Stop bombing Afrin' the protesters waved flags with the image of the Kurdish leader Abdullah Ocalan, honorary citizen of Naples, detained under maximum security in the island of Imrali.
Yesterday five Kurds stopped: they tried to enter St. Peter's at the Angelus with curved flags and banners. The Police Headquarters: "Unauthorized protest initiatives".
The appeal of Anm and Fnsi
Anm, Fnsi and the Bar Council wrote to the President of the Republic to raise the issue of human rights with Erdogan. Today a delegation of journalists and Article 21, FNSI and Rete No Bavaglio will be at the sit-in in Castel Sant'Angelo.
Meanwhile, the Netherlands withdraw their ambassador to Turkey. "The Netherlands and Turkey have had talks at various levels in the last period, so far these talks have not offered any prospect of normalization of bilateral relations, so the Dutch government has decided to withdraw its ambassador to Ankara , which has not had access to Turkey since March 2017 ", when the crisis for the ban of the electoral meetings in Europe broke outof Turkish ministers in support of Recep Tayyip Erdogan's presidential referendum. This was announced by a note from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in The Hague.