Pope lauds Turkey’s efforts in Russia-Ukraine war

Turkey’s Vatican Ambassador Lütfullah Göktaş said that during his farewell visit, Pope Francis, the spiritual leader of the Catholics and the President of the Vatican, gave a clear message that Turkey’s efforts to ensure peace in the Russia-Ukraine war should continue.

Having completed his term of office, Ambassador Göktaş made assessments to the AA correspondent regarding the period he served, the relations between Turkey and the Vatican, and the issues in his last meeting with the Pope.

Asked how he felt while completing his term as ambassador, Göktaş said, “I think I have increased the number of our friends here during the 4 years I served in the Vatican. This was a place where I lived and studied before. Working as an ambassador here has been a truly unique experience for me. I believe that the friendships established during this period will make a serious contribution to the strengthening of Turkey-Vatican relations.” gave the answer.

Lütfullah Göktaş pointed out that Turkey and the Vatican share similar views on many issues and said:

“Turkey is a country that considers religious and cultural differences as wealth. We are a nation that has made it a tradition to live side by side in peace, not conflict. We are a country that has always been open to cooperation with anyone who wants goodness, peace and tranquility for humanity. Working for a more just world than climate change, We have similar views with the Vatican on many issues, from not fighting but to advocating peaceful coexistence with everyone. We argue that religion cannot be associated with terrorism, we emphasize that people’s beliefs and sanctities should be respected, and that no one should be seen as an enemy because of their religious identity. Peace in the whole world, including the Middle East. We believe that Jerusalem is sacred to all three religions and that the status quo, which has its roots in the Ottoman Empire, should not be disturbed.”

Pointing out that the cooperation between members of different religions is of great importance in securing fundamental rights and freedoms, Ambassador Göktaş said, “Combating not only anti-Semitism and Christianophobia, but also close cooperation is needed to combat Islamophobia. The provocative action in Sweden reveals this once again. Today’s world does not need grudge and hatred, on the contrary, it needs mutual respect and love.” made its assessment.


Ambassador Göktaş said, “The Vatican is aware that Turkey is an important actor not only in the region but also in world politics. Turkey’s mediation efforts between Russia and Ukraine, and the fact that we have convinced the parties for a grain corridor agreement are appreciated.” said.

Stating that he paid a farewell visit to the President of the Vatican and the spiritual leader of the Catholics, Pope Francis, on January 23, Göktaş continued as follows:

“The Pope praises Turkey’s efforts at every meeting. He gave a very clear message during my farewell visit: ‘Turkey should continue its efforts to achieve peace.’ He also pointed out that our President is the only leader who can meet with both Putin and Zelenskiy. The Pope believes that Turkey’s potential to achieve results is really strong. He made this very clear during my farewell visit. The Pope emphasized that Turkey did a good job. “President Erdogan, please continue his mediation efforts. I would like to thank him for what he has done so far and what he will do in the future,” he said.


Göktaş shared the information that there will be high-level participation from the Vatican to the Antalya Diplomacy Forum this year, and said, “Antalya Diplomacy Forum is watched with interest in the Vatican, as it is all over the world. The 3rd one will be held in March. The Vatican also attends the meeting, this time at the level of the Minister of Foreign Affairs. Vatican Foreign Minister Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher responded positively to the invitation of our ministry. He will be in Antalya in March.” used his statements.


Reminding that the Vatican Embassy, ​​which served in a small flat in an apartment for 40 years, was transferred to a detached building in 2020, Ambassador Göktaş said, “During my term of office, as my predecessors wanted, our Embassy moved to a better and more reputable building in terms of both security and representation. I am also happy that the transition to the new building took place during my term, with the support of he finished.


Göktaş, who received his master’s and doctorate degrees in the History of Religions at the Pontifical Gregorius University of the Vatican in the 90s, was also awarded the Vatican State Order by Pope Francis in 2022 during his embassy.

Photo courtesy of AA.