Iraq's Al Qaeda wing poisoned his first papal trip to a Muslim nation by declaring that the Pope is attempting to lure Turkey away from its Islamic roots.
"The visit of the Pope in reality is meant to add momentum to the crusader campaign on the land of Islam after failures of crusader leaders to extinguish the flame of Islam among our Muslim brothers in Turkey. He wants to wipeout their Islamic heritage..and to guarantee that they stay in the quaqmire of secularism."
The Pope has flown into a political crisis within Turkey between the governing Justice and Development Party which wants public life to be more Islamic, and the Turkish military that supports the 20th Century secular constitution established by Kemal Ataturk. If internal dissent erupts to the degree of a Military Coup, Turkey's chances of being accepted in the EU will be slimmer than they are now.
Benedict's mission is to address John Paul II's death bed regrets, namely: that he had failed to establish a close rapprochement with the Orthodox Christian churces; that a united Europe was becoming not merely secular but godless, and that his reaching out to the Islamic world had not met with success.
Orthodox Christians..Benedict met with Patriarch Bartholomew and his flock of a mere 2,000 people. The Pope's visit might call attention to how oppressed by the Turkish government, Orthodox Christians are: I was accutely aware that the government of Turkey faced sharp criticism from the West for putting novelists, historians and journalists on trial, I had not heard before of the disgraceful conditions to which the patriarch of Constantinople and his church remain subject to this day. The patriarch is not permitted to own property, including the churches in its jurisdiction.
On reaching out to the Islamic world and influencing secular elitists in Europe..the Pope has "great trust and hope" that his trip to Turkey will be a positive step toward achieving those goals..but Pope Benedict has a lot more faith than I for a peaceful Islamic world or that Turkey "has always been a bridge between cultures, a place of meeting and dialogue."
Afterall....Istanbul ain't Constantinople anymore?