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ICC Note: A fascinating collection of quotes from Turkish columnists regarding the Pope’s visit. Read it and you will get a taste of Muslim feelings towards Christians (as the Pope is a symbol in their minds of all Christianity). The conspiracy thinking and hostility are quite normal in the Islamic world and the quotes below are coming from a moderate Islamic nation.

“The Pope’s Visit is a Crusade… An Atrocity”

(MEMRI) Pope Benedict XVI’s official visit to Turkey , at the invitation of Turkish President Ahmet Necdet Sezer, created great controversy in the country and was a focal point of attention for the media worldwide. While secular Turks emphasized the importance of the papal visit, and the opportunities it presented for Turkey to demonstrate its hospitality and show its Western, secular, and modern face, both Islamist and ultra-nationalist circles protested the visit.

“The Pope’s Visit is a Crusade… An Atrocity”

Columnist Orhan Karatas of the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) Turkish daily Ortadogu wrote: [2] “Everybody knows already why the Pope is coming to Turkey tomorrow. The visit that starts tomorrow is a Crusade, in every meaning of the word. To search for an iota of goodwill in this visit […] is stupid. […] The Pope is not coming to Turkey because it is a Muslim country. […] [even though] he and those who speak for him say that. The Pope is coming to Turkey to re-sanctify Istanbul and to bring about a Christian world that will include the Orthodox. The days of the visit, the locations, the planned prayers, statements to be made, [and] his arrogant and humiliating attitude towards the AKP government clearly indicate what the real purpose is.

“The Pope’s visit is an atrocity, not only for Turkey but for all Muslims.[…] [This is] because the visit is taking place in order to strengthen the Pope’s status and to form an alliance against all Muslims.”

Necmettin Erbakan, Father of Turkish Political Islam From Which the AKP Emerged: “All Humanity, Including the Pope, Owes Everything to Islam”

The Islamist Turkish daily Milli Gazete reported that former Turkish PM Necmettin Erbakan told a demonstration in a video address:[3] “You, my believing brothers, represent today not only Istanbul, and not only the 75-million-strong Turkey, but the entire Islamic world of 1.6 billion […]. You are screaming here for the Pope not to come […] because this person, who is supposedly the leader of the Catholics, has throughout his life been an opponent of God’s true religion, Islam – the only path to humanity’s happiness.

“All humanity, including the Pope, owes everything to Islam and to our Prophet. It was Islam that taught humanity about cleanliness, about knowledge, about God’s work, and about all the core elements of happiness. Whatever this man called the Pope knows about being clean, whatever he knows about numbers – including his ability to add and subtract – he acquired from the Muslims, who created science and gave it to the world. […]

“We are also telling the Pope not to come because we know why he is coming… He is coming in total defiance of the Turkish people, to visit the Patriarch of the Orthodox [Christians], to strengthen his hand and claims for ecumenical status, and to resurrect Byzantium . He is coming as the religious representative of the Greater Middle East Project… This is part of the plans to divide our country and nation into easy-to-swallow bites. That is why we are here today in the name of the entire Muslim world […].'”