Protesters rally against Erdogan's visit in Rome

Rome bans protests ahead of Erdogan talks with pope

Rome bans protests ahead of Erdogan talks with pope

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan discussed the status of Jerusalem with Pope Francis in Vatican today.

Despite previous disagreements, the two leaders found common ground on Jerusalem after the U.S. unilaterally recognized the city as the capital of Israel. During that call they discussed President Donald Trump's decision for the United States to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, a move that threatens to further destabilise the Middle East.

At the conclusion of the 50-minute audience, lengthy by papal standards, Francis presented President Recep Tayyip Erdogan with a medallion depicting an "angel of peace" strangling the "demon of war".

Despite the ban on protests, there was a planned sit-in of around 200 people near the Vatican, organised by an Italian Kurdish association.

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The visit by Erdogan to the Vatican- the first by a Turkish head of state in several decades- prompted angry demonstrations outside St. Peter's Square by Kurdish protesters, who cited human-rights abuses against the minority population.

Erdogan is the first Turkish president to visit the Vatican in almost six decades.

"The status of Jerusalem is a central issue for both Muslims and Christians, both the pope and myself are committed to protecting the status quo", President Erdoğan had told to Italy's La Stampa in an interview.

The two men met privately for almost an hour, and according to a Vatican statement, they spoke about bilateral relations between the Holy See and Turkey, the situation within the country and the condition of the Catholic community, Turkey's role in receiving refugees and the challenges this poses.

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Erdogan said an investigation had been launched into the attack, including trying to determine which countries supplied the weaponry being used by the YPG, considered by Ankara as a terror group.

In an address on December 6, 2017, from the White House, Trump defied worldwide warnings and insisted that after repeated failures to achieve peace, a new approach was long overdue, describing his decision to recognize Jerusalem as the seat of Israel's government as merely based on reality.

The official 24-hour clampdown on protests has been in place since Sunday night (February 4) and will stay in place until this evening, according to The Local.

Erdoğan was also expected to meet with Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican's secretary of state. A protester was hurt and two were arrested.

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Party President Giorgia Meloni said the Italian people sought to send a message to Turkey by rejecting Turkey's interest in joining the European Union.

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