Vatican: Pope Does Not Own Private Jet

Denies Claims Made by Turkish President to Justify Expense for Top Muslim Cleric

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The Vatican has denied claims made by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan that the Pope has a private jet.

According to Turkish agency, Today’s Zaman,  Erdoğan stated that he would request the government to provide a private jet for the country’s top Muslim cleric and head of the Office of Religious Affairs Directorate, Mehmet Görmez.

«Mr. Mehmet Görmez is not only the religious leader of Turkey. In fact, he is the respected religious leader of this geographical area in the Islamic world,” Erdoğan said. He went on to say that even the Pope «has a private jet, private cars and armored vehicles.”

“That’s the situation at the Vatican and our religious leader will take scheduled [commercial] flights?»

When asked by Turkish news agency Doğan about Erdoğan’s words, vice-director of the Holy See Press Office Fr. Ciro Benedettini refuted the claim, saying that neither Pope Francis nor his predecessors had private jets and that a jet is hired from Alitalia for all trips, both foreign and domestic. 

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