THE INVITATION LETTER SENT TO THE POPE BY PRESIDENT SÜLEYMAN DEMIREL
 

His Grace the Pope,
 
The year 2000 will be the beginning of a new age and a new millenium of hope for mankind. This year will give an opportunity to look at our recent history to learn lessons from the events that have hindered our economic and spiritual development and give spiritual power in our search to provide the life that future generations deserve. Our view towards the future will not be harmed by the evil powers of darkness but will be enlightened by peace, tolerance and understanding among people. We recognise the great worth of both the services that you have given as a guide on the road to spiritual perfection and the work done by the Vatican in this endeavor.
 
The anniversary of the birth of Jesus Christ and the activities surrounding this event will give us many opportunities to introduce and spread the positive values that we believe should last forever among nations and individuals. Turkey, a land where faiths, cultures and civilisations have lived together in perfect harmony throughout history, will continue to play a leading role in supporting the development of the spirit of tolerance in the world today. And in fact, we are ready for this role in a variety of ways.

Hosting the celebration and events for the year of Christ's birth is a special privilege for us. As preparation for this important anniversary, we have started a project known as "Anatolia 2000 ", and we continue to work to make this year an unforgettable event.

Therefore, His Grace the Pope, I consider it an honor to officially invite you for a visit to Turkey. The visit you made in 1979 is still vivid in the memories of the Turkish people. On a date convenient for you, I would be delighted to "extend our hospitality to you again here in Turkey. I am sure that this visit on the eve of this historical anniversary will open a new page in the friendly relations between Turkey and the Vatican.

His Grace the Pope, please accept my wishes for your health and peace with my deepest respect.

Süleyman Demirel
Former President of Turkish Republic