Turkey: Pope’s Turkey trip a surprise success: Benedict transforms his image as a cranky Islamophobe

The newspaper headlines here have been astonishing. “So Far So Good,” read one banner headline; “Alliance of Faiths,” read another. And splashed across the front page of most papers Thursday was a picture of a smiling Pope Benedict XVI waving a Turkish flag. With gentle gestures and well-timed words, Benedict managed to charm the Turkish people and transformed his image from a crusty old anti-Turkish Islamaphobe to a politically savvy statesman in a matter of days.