The Pope expressed "his spiritual closeness to the relatives of the victims affected by this tragedy," the telegram reads, sent on his behalf by Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Angelo Sodano to the apostolic nuncio in Turkey.

The Holy Father "commends the deceased to the mercy of the Almighty and promises his prayers for the injured and their relatives, without forgetting the persons who have participated in the rescue operations."

"The Pope presents his sincere sympathy to the authorities of the country and to the Turkish people, and appeals to all to manifest their support to those who have been tested by this catastrophe," Cardinal Sodano said, in the message sent in French.

The derailment of the train, which was traveling Thursday from Istanbul to Ankara, was one of the worst railroad accidents in the country's history.