11 November 2014
His Holiness, Pope Francis
00120 Vatican City
I read of your coming visit to Turkey with grave concern. Your itinerary, in particular your visit with Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, is fraught with hazardous implications for you and for the Holy See. I fear this meeting may prove most dangerous to the prestige and moral authority of the Vatican. Your visit to Erdoğan's illegally constructed "palace," grossly fascist in its garish enormity, speaks to the sordidly violent reputation of the man, himself. You will understand this upon first sight.
Erdoğan is the man who has destroyed the legitimacy of the Turkish justice system. He ignored the court decision that prohibited this massive rape of protected forest preserve. You will see, firsthand, the effect of the slaughter of 13,000 trees. Erdogan's response to the court was "Let them demolish it if they have enough power." Such a contemptuous response is reminiscent of Stalin's response to Winston Churchill's concern about the Vatican and the fate of Catholic Poland under post-war Soviet repression. "The Pope?" asked Stalin, "How many divisions does he have?"
I need not remind you of Erdoğan's violence during the Gezi Park demonstrations last year--the outrageous gassings, the beatings, the murders of innocent young people, the taunting and name-calling by the prime minister, his insults to the grieving families of the dead, his encouragement of wanton police violence, the shame of it all.