By Sibel Ugurlu
Presidential Spokesman Ibrahim Kalin on Saturday called for an end to racism, xenophobia and discrimination.
In a column in local Daily Sabah titled: “Erdogan's Vatican visit promises hope for global peace” Kalin praised Pope Francis' message of inclusiveness and openness.
He said the message was particularly significant in the backdrop of "the rising tide of far-right movements and racist trends".
The Pope and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan held a 50-minute private meeting earlier this week when the latter visited Vatican city.
Francis was one of the most prominent international leaders to criticize the U.S. decision last December to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
Kalin called Erdogan's meeting with the Pope an important opportunity to work for a common agenda of peace, security and friendship.
He said the two leaders discussed a number of issues including Jerusalem, Muslim-Catholic relations, the Syrian war, the refugee crisis, terrorism, xenophobia and Islamophobia.
“Discrimination against any religious or ethnic group is also a threat to the safety of others because once the wheel of racism begins to turn, there is no way to stop it as there are serious consequences for all groups," he said.
Kalin pointed at the political and physical attacks on Muslim communities in the West and said these attacks were alarming.
“This is how anti-Semitism in Europe got out of control and turned into a shameful episode in modern history with the rise of Nazism and the crimes of the Holocaust,” he added.
Kalin said the Pope had shown high moral and political grounds by rejecting new forms of racism and Islamophobia.
He said this attitude should be welcomed by all Muslims. Likewise Muslim political and religious leaders should protect Christian communities living in their countries, he added.
“The simple truth is that Muslims, Christians, Jews and peoples of other faiths and no faith must join forces against all forms of racism, xenophobia and discrimination."
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