The pontiff flew out of Istanbul on Friday after conducting a second mass at the Cathedral of the Holy Sprit.
The 79-year-old pope made a conciliatory gesture towards Islam on Thursday when he assumed an attitude of Muslim prayer while facing
"It was something beautiful, a gesture on his part," Mustafa Cagrici, the mufti of Istanbul, told the Turkish daily
The moment was "even more meaningful than an apology" for the pope's recent remarks where he appeared to equate Islam with violence, Cagrici said.
In a speech 10 weeks ago the pope quoted a Byzantine emperor who suggested that Islam was an intolerant and violent religion. The speech outraged Muslims around the world.
The main purpose of the long-planned trip - seeking reconciliation between the Western and Eastern rites of Christianity - was symbolised by a Saint Andrew's Day mass on Thursday.
However, the trip also focused on healing differences between Christianity and Islam following the pope's controversial speech.
The visit saw unprecedented security measures. Large areas of
Even before the controversy over his remarks on Islam, the pope faced an uphill struggle to win over the Turks, having been considered the "anti-Turkish pope" for opposing
He made an U-turn on the issue moments after arriving in
But he added provisos on Thursday. He said respect for religious freedom must be a criterion for entry into the EU, and called on the bloc to ensure that its members respect the rights of their religious minorities.
Pope Benedict also returned to a familiar position when he called for a renewal of "