He also plans to visit Istanbul for a meeting with the head of the Orthodox Christian church.

It will be the fourth time in history when a pope will visit Turkey.

During his trip, Pope Francis is scheduled to visit Istanbul's Sultan Ahmed mosque, the 17th century place of worship popularly known as the Blue Mosque.

He is also due to sign a joint declaration with Patriarch Bartholomew I, the leader of 300 million Orthodox Christians, on trying to bridge the divides between Catholicism and Orthodox  Christianity.

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