VATICAN (AA) - Türkiye's ambassador to the Vatican on Sunday said Pope Francis praised the country's mediation efforts between Russia and Ukraine.
Having completed his term of office, Ambassador Lutfullah Goktas made assessments to Anadolu about relations between Türkiye and the Vatican.
"The Vatican is aware that Türkiye is an important actor not only in the region but also in world politics," he said, noting that he paid a farewell visit to the spiritual leader of the Catholics on Jan. 23.
"The Pope praises Türkiye's efforts at every meeting. He gave a very clear message during my farewell visit. He said that Türkiye should continue its efforts to achieve peace, pointing out Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is the only leader that can meet both Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and Russian President Vladimir Putin."
Goktas also said the Pope thanked Erdogan for what he has done so far and what he will do in the future for ending the war.
- Türkiye, Vatican relations
Goktas also said he believes that he has increased the number of friends during the four years he served in the Vatican.
"This was a place where I lived and studied before. Working as an ambassador here has been a truly unique experience for me. I believe that the friendships established during this period will make a serious contribution to the strengthening of Türkiye-Vatican relations," he said.
"We are a nation that has made it a tradition to live side by side in peace, not conflict. We are a country that has always been open to cooperation with anyone who wants goodness, peace and tranquility for humanity," he said.
He further said the Vatican and Türkiye shared similar views on many issues, from fighting against climate change to advocating peaceful coexistence with everyone.
"We insist that religion cannot be associated with terrorism, we emphasize that people's beliefs and sanctities should be respected, and that no one should be seen as an enemy because of their religious identity. We want peace in the whole world, including the Middle East. We believe that Jerusalem is sacred to all three religions and that the status quo, which has its roots in the Ottoman Empire, should not be disturbed."
The cooperation between members of different religions is of great importance in securing fundamental rights and freedoms, he said.
"The provocative action in Sweden reveals this once again that today's world does not need grudge and hatred, on the contrary, it needs mutual respect and love."
- Vatican Foreign Minister to attend Antalya Diplomacy Forum
Goktas also shared that there will be high-level participation from the Vatican to the Antalya Diplomacy Forum this year.
"The Vatican's Foreign Minister Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher responded positively to our ministry's invitation. He will be in Antalya in March," he added.