The Turkish president has found common ground with the Vatican on the status of Jerusalem after the US recognized the city as Israel’s capital. But Kurdish groups and a far-right party have criticized the visit.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan met with Pope Francis on Monday, the first Vatican visit by a Turkish head of state since 1959.
Despite previous clashes, the two leaders found common ground on Jerusalem after the US unilaterally recognized the city as the capital of Israel.
“The status of Jerusalem is a central issue for both Muslims and Christians; both the pope and myself are committed to protecting the status quo,” said Erdogan in an interview published by Italian newspaper La Stampa on Sunday.
“No nation in the world has a right to take unilateral steps on a city which is dear to billions of people, ignoring international laws.”
Pope Francis and Erdogan were also expected to discuss terrorism, the migration crisis and Syria, where Turkey last month launched an offensive against Kurdish forces in Afrin near the Turkish border.