Thousands gather to protest on visit of Pope to Turkey.
27 Nov 2006
Istanbul: November 27, 2006. Thousands of Muslims have taken part in a protest in Istanbul against forthcoming visit of Pope to Turkey.
The crowds booed - and shouted slogans such as "Don`t come Pope" - as pictures of Benedict XVI were shown on a giant screen in a square in the city suburbs.
The Pope sparked outrage across the Muslim world in September, when he quoted a 14th-Century Christian emperor who criticised the Prophet Muhammad.
His visit, which begins on Tuesday, will be his first to a Muslim country.
The protest was organised by the Islamic Felicity Party, a small group that is not represented in the Turkish parliament.
A huge poster on the square showed pictures of a crusader and of violence in the Middle East.
"Who brought evil and inhumanity?" the poster asked, addressing the Pope. "Now don`t come here, unless you apologise."
Police said more than 25,000 protesters had joined the demonstration, which was monitored by hundreds of security officers, including riot police.
In Rome, the Pope sent a greeting to the Turkish people in which he offered sincere friendship and praised Turkish history and culture.
We hope this visit will help eliminate misunderstandings between Muslims and Christians.