Pope Makes First Stop at Mausoleum of Atatürk in Turkey

Lays Wreath and Pays Respects at the Tomb of the Founder of Modern-Day Turkey

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In his first stop on his Apostolic Visit to Turkey, Pope Francis visited the famed Anıtkabir, the mausoleum of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk.

Upon his arrival, the Pope was welcomed by government and military authorities, as well as Archbishop Antonio Lucibello, Apostolic Nuncio. Shortly after landing, the Holy Father was whisked away to the memorial tomb of the founder of modern-day Turkey.

Atatürk served as a military officer during World War I and later on led the Turkish National Movement during the Turkish War of Independence, following the defeat of the Ottoman Empire. His political, economic and cultural reforms shaped Turkey after the fall of the empire.

The site was visited by both Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI. Pope Benedict XVI visited the memorial tomb exactly eight years ago today, on Nov. 28, 2006. Following the footsteps of his predecessors, Pope Francis laid a wreath at Atatürk’s final resting place and stayed several moments in silent reflection.

The Holy Father then signed the Golden Book which is signed by dignitaries who have visited the memorial.  

“I express my sincerest good wishes so that Turkey, the natural bridge between two Continents, may not only be a crossroad, but also a place of encounter, dialogue and peaceful coexistence among men and women of good will of every culture, ethnicity and religion,” the Holy Father wrote.

After signing the book, the Pope was given a brief tour of items belonging to the father of modern-day Turkey. He then made his way to his motorcade where he was escorted to the Presidential Palace in Ankara for his meeting with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Pope Francis will address civil authorities after a private meeting with the Turkish head of state.

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Junno Arocho Esteves

Newark, New Jersey, USA Bachelor of Science degree in Diplomacy and International Relations.

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