Turkey's Cemal Uşak hails new pope as 'new hope'

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Turkey's Cemal Uşak hails new pope as 'new hope'

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Leading Turkish intellectual Cemal Uşak believes the election of Pope Francis brings “new hope” for inter-faith relations.

Uşak is Secretary General of Turkey’s Inter-cultural Dialogue Platform and Vice President of the Journalists and Writers’ Foundation.

Uşak told euronews: “We can say that the dialogue between Muslims and Christians and others in the time of Pope Benedict was close to zero. The new pope is Jesuit – the first Jesuit pope. This decision of the Vatican is revolutionary.”

“From this point of view I think the new pope represents an opportunity for Muslims and for members of other faith groups. And also for humanity and for world peace,” Uşak added.

Although some credited Francis’ predecessor Benedict with improving inter-faith relations, he also faced criticism. He quoted a historical comment about Islam during a 2006 speech, which was interpreted negatively and led to protests in several Muslim countries.