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Turkey

Pope Francis asked to avoid Turkey's lavish 1,000-room presidential palace

Pope Francis' penchant for austerity and humility will face a diplomatic challenge when he visits Turkey's new ostentatious presidential palace on his first visit to the country later this month.

Francis will be the first foreign dignitary to be welcomed by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan at the new 1,000-room palace when he visits Ankara on Nov. 28.

Turkish architects have written to the pope urging him not to go to the palace built by Erdogan and known locally as the "White Palace."

Franciscan priest among 20 Christians reportedly kidnapped in Syria

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A Franciscan priest was among about 20 Christians kidnapped from a Syrian village near the border with Turkey the night of Oct. 5-6, the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem said.

Franciscan Fr. Hanna Jallouf and the others were abducted from Knayeh, a small Christian village in northwestern Syria, the Franciscan Custody of the Holy Land confirmed Tuesday.

Vatican says pope will visit Turkey in November

The Vatican confirmed that Pope Francis is planning to visit Turkey "in the last days of November," but said the length of his trip and his agenda in the country have yet to be determined.

Jesuit Fr. Federico Lombardi, the Vatican spokesman, made the announcement to reporters Friday, noting that a formal invitation from Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had arrived at the Vatican earlier in the day.

Pope Francis to visit Turkey in November

Pope Francis will visit Turkey in November, eight years after his predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI, made a landmark visit to the predominantly Muslim country.

Turkey's newly elected president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, extended a formal invitation to Francis, and the Turkish Embassy to the Holy See confirmed Tuesday that the pope has accepted.

"The pope has been invited by both the Orthodox Church and the government and he is expected to meet the president during his visit," an embassy representative said.

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