Turkey presented on Friday condolences to Italy over the killing of a Catholic bishop in a southern province.
Turkey's Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu called his Italian counterpart Franco Frattini, and Turkey's Culture & Tourism Minister Ertugrul Gunay sent a message to Italian Ambassador to Turkey Carlo Marsili, over killing of Luigi Padovese, the Pope's apostolic vicar in Anatolia, outside his house on Thursday.
In their messages, Davutoglu and Gunay presented Turkey's condolences over the murder, Anadolu news agency said.
Moreover, the Italian Embassy in Ankara said that Frattini wished that Christians living in Turkey would continue to fulfil requirements of their belief in peace.
Frattini also expressed his confidence in Turkish authorities that they would bring to daylight the reason and other details of the killing as soon as possible.
Padovese was stabbed in garden of his house in Iskenderun town of the southern province of Hatay on Thursday.
He lost his life en route to hospital.
Murat A, Padovese's driver for the last four and a half years, was arrested on charges of killing the Catholic bishop, shortly after the murder.
During a mass at the Assyrian Catholic Church three days ago, Padovese condemned the act of terror in Iskenderun on Monday in which six troops were killed. He defined the town of Iskenderun as a cradle of different cultures and different faiths. Padovese also said that opening of the Assyrian church was the sign of importance attached by Turkish constitution and state to the freedom of religious belief.
"Condolence message to Pope"
Meanwhile, President Gul sent condolence message to Pope Benedict XVI.
Turkish President Abdullah Gul said Friday that Padovese would be remembered with appreciation for his efforts for love and brotherhood.
President Gul sent a message of condolence to Pope Benedict XVI upon Padovese's death on Thursday, said the Turkish Presidency Press Center.
Gul said in his message:
"Professor Luigi Padovese's murder by his driver receiving psychological treatment has caused deep sorrow for all of us. Prof. Padovese's services for love and brotherhood in Iskenderun, a town where citizens of different religions live, will be remembered with appreciation. Regardless of the reason, the attack on Padovese has been cursed by the Turkish people. I offer my most sincere feelings of condolence to the family and friends of Padovese and the whole Catholic community."
"Pope on the killing"
Pope Benedict on Friday also said the killing of a leading Catholic bishop in Turkey should not be allowed to hurt dialogue with Islam or stain the image of Turkey and its people, according to Reuters news agency.
"We are still awaiting a full explanation but we don't want to mix up this tragic episode with Islam. It is a case apart which saddens us but should not be allowed to darken the dialogue (with Islam) in any way," he told reporters on the plane taking him to Cyprus for a three-day visit.
It was the Pope's first comment on the killing of Padovese, who was to have participated in the Pope's trip to Cyprus.