Tuesday, 2 December 2014

"Pope Francis tries to build bridges in sceptical Turkey"

From the BBC:

The crowd was small, but passionate. The civil engineering faithful here are few.

A mix of young and old architects and transport planners, though, were waiting for the Pope to arrive at the Turkish Society of Civil Engineers in Istanbul.

It is tucked behind a discreet doorway on a main road, and the pavement was sealed off behind a temporary security barrier. Attendance at the special mass with Pope Francis, who read Civil Engineering in Argentine before joining the priesthood, was by invitation only.

When the Pope arrived at last, they gave him a subdued but positive welcome; youngsters desperately holding up their mobile phones to try and get better reception to be able to reply to those last minute emails from work.

The 77-year old Pontiff did not disappoint; he seemed energized by the cheers, smiling broadly as he outlined plans for a new six-lane suspension bridge over the Bosphoris linking central Istanbul with Usküdar, five miles to the west of the exsiting suspension bridge.

Elsewhere in Turkey, though, there was little interest in what is seen as a vanity project, made largely superfluous by the new tunnel which was completed and opened a year ago.