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  • Several human rights-related protests were sprinkled across the Rome.

    Several human rights-related protests were sprinkled across the Rome. | Photo: Reuters

Published 5 February 2018
Opinion

The Brothers of Italy party denounced the Turkish president's visit, saying "No to Turkey in Europe."

For the first time since 1959, the Vatican City plays host to a Turkish head of state, amid protests.

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President Recep Tayyip Erdogan met with Pope Francis to discuss various matters of terrorism, the migration crisis, Islamophobia and Syria.

More than 3,000 police officials were deployed for the visit following threats of mass protests. Rome also issued a 24-hour ban on demonstrations. But, several human rights-related protests were sprinkled across the city regardless.

The Brothers of Italy party chimed in to denounce the Turkish president's visit.

"No to Turkey in Europe," Brothers of Italy President Giorgia Meloni said.

Erdogan had earlier criticized European leaders for blocking Turkey's attempt to join the European Union.

The leader of the Catholic church and the Turkish chief have had many dissimilar views over the years but, the United States' decision to declare Jerusalem the capital of Israel weaves a common thread.

Erdogan commented that the United States had isolated itself with the issue of Jerusalem.

“The status of Jerusalem is a central issue for both Muslims and Christians, both the pope and myself are committed to protect the status quo,” Erdogan said in a La Stampa interview, on Sunday.

Erdogan arrives in Italy. Photo: Reuters

The Vatican is in favor of a two-state solution to the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians and hopes that both sides reach a consensus on the status of Jerusalem - which houses sacred sites for Muslims, Jews and Christians.

“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,” the president added.

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