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Pope Greets Turkish Ambassador, Expresses Respect for Islam

Pope Benedict has expressed respect for Islam and urged believers of all religions to denounce violence.

The pontiff made his comments as he received the new Turkish ambassador to the Vatican, Muammer Dogan Akdur, Friday, less than two months after his own visit to Turkey.

Benedict said during the trip, he repeatedly expressed the respect the Roman Catholic Church has for Islam and the esteem of the pope and the faithful for Muslim believers.

Pope Benedict also called on the faithful of various religions to work together for peace. He said this should start with denouncing violence, which has often been committed in the name of religion.

The pontiff hailed Turkey as a bridge between the East and the West.

The pope traveled to Turkey at the end of November. Earlier in the year, he had made remarks about Islam and violence that angered many Muslims. During the trip, he called for greater understanding and dialogue between Muslims and Christians.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.