Pope John Paul the Second arrived in Ankara on Wednesday (28 November) for a three day visit to Turkey amid strict security, his first stay in a predominantly Moslem country.
GV Pope John Paul the Second down aircraft steps at Ankara Airport
SV Pope John Paul walks through crowd to microphone
SV Pope shaking hands with Turkish officials
SV Pope gets into helicopter and leaves
GV Pope walking behind wreath to mausoleum of Kemal Ataturk (3 shots)
GV Coach being checked by armed police and personnel on coach being searched (5 shots)
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Background: Pope John Paul the Second arrived in Ankara on Wednesday (28 November) for a three day visit to Turkey amid strict security, his first stay in a predominantly Moslem country. Threats against the life of the Pontiff resulted in the public being kept well away from the airport and so the Pope's reception differed from the tumultuous welcomes he received in the United States and the Republic of Ireland where thousands of people packed the air terminals.
SYNOPSIS: Ankara airport was closed even to departing passengers when the Pope arrived. All scheduled flights were cancelled for several hours in a security operation more strict than any enforce in the Turkish republic's fifty-year history. About ten thousand armed troops and police joined the political leaders and newsmen at the airport to greet the Pope. Turkey welcomed the Pope as a Head of State, but the main reason for his visit was to meet Orthodox Patriarch Dimitros to discuss the reunification of the Roman Catholic and Orthodox Churches after nearly a thousand years of division. Pope John Paul and the Patriarch represent about one billion Christians.
After holding talks with President Fahri Koruturk, the Pope paid homage to Kemal Ataturk, the soldier and statesman who founded the modern Turkish republic. He stood for a minutes silence a the st one and marble Ataturk mausoleum. Road blocks surrounded Ankara during the Pope's stay. A massive manhunt has been launched for a young Moslem extremist who escaped from jail recently having written to newspapers saying he would kill the Pontiff. An Armenian nationalist group has also threatened to assassinate the Pope. So far, no arrests have been made.