Erdogan, Pope oppose Trump over Jerusalem

Turkish president to meet Pope Francis in historic visit to the Vatican

Turkish president to meet Pope Francis in historic visit to the Vatican

In December, the U.S. President Donald Trump had chose to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital, instead of Tel Aviv, drawing a large criticism from the worldwide community.

Mr Erdogan, in an interview with Italian daily newspaper La Stampa, said he and the Pope had already spoken by telephone about the Jerusalem issue and said both of them favoured working to maintain the status quo for the city considered holy by three religions.

He said that the United States is "alone" in its decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

Turkey chairs the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, which is made up of Muslim countries and territories.

A statement from the Turkish presidency said both Erdogan and his wife, Emine Erdogan, met with the Pope on Monday. A joint statement reaffirming the city's disputed status is likely and may call on the United Nations and Israel to cooperate with East Jerusalem Palestinians.

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Erdogan's the meeting with the pope today was the first of a Turkish leader in 59 years.

The two leaders had "cordial discussions" on the situation in Turkey, the condition of the Catholic community there, and Turkey's efforts in receiving and hosting refugees, according to a Vatican statement.

Francis also gave him an etching of the original St. Peter's Basilica, which had two bell towers, and copies of his environmental encyclical Laudato Si' and his message for the 2018 World Day of Peace. While in Istanbul the pope acknowledged that current global crises had made Muslims vulnerable to being stigmatized.

The two men are also expected to discuss the situation in Syria and Iraq as well as humanitarian aid and refugees. He also spoke by phone with the pope at the time. Rome also issued a 24-hour ban on demonstrations.

At the end of their meeting, Pope Francis gave President Erdogan a bronze medallion depicting an angel embracing the northern and southern hemispheres while overcoming the opposition of a dragon.

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