ANKARA, Turkey, November 15, 2006 – The Office of the Prime Minister of
the Republic of Turkey has announced an official visit to the country by
His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI, November 28-December 1, when he will be a
guest of His Excellency Mr. Ahmet Necdet Sezer, President of the Republic
of Turkey.

During his visit, Pope Benedict will be meeting with President Sezer and
the President of Religious Affars Ali Bardako?lu in Ankara. Following the
meetings, His Holiness will visit Istanbul, as well as the House of the
Virgin Mary in Izmir. Now a popular place of pilgrimage, the House
(Meryemana Evi) has received the official sanction of the Vatican and a
commemoration ceremony is held every year on August 15th.

This visit will be Pope Benedict’s first visit to Turkey since his
election to succeed Pope John Paul II. It occurs on the anniversary of
Pope John Paul II’s trip to Turkey, a predominantly Muslim country, on
November 28, 1979.

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