ROME (World Bulletin) — Pope Francis voiced hope late on Sunday for the opening of Turkey-Armenia border as a sign of mending ties, he reportedly said during his flight back to the Italian capital Rome after his three-day visit to Turkey.
According to a report by the Catholic News Service, Francis praised Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s statement in 2013 regarding the 1915 incidents as an “outstretched hand,” and expressed his hope that the border gates, which have remained closed over the last two decades, would open.
Turkey closed its border with Armenia in 1993 following the escalation of the latter’s conflict with Azerbaijan over the Nagorno-Karabagh region.
Pope Francis also said that equating Islam with violence was wrong and called on Muslim leaders to issue a global condemnation of terrorism to help dispel the stereotype.
Francis, the leader of 1.2 billion Roman Catholics, told reporters aboard his plane returning from a visit to Turkey that he understood why Muslims were offended by many in the West who automatically equated their religion with terrorism.