msnbc.com news services
updated 11/2/2006 11:08:55 AM ET 2006-11-02T16:08:55

Security guards on Thursday detained a man who fired shots into the air outside the Italian consul general’s residence to protest an upcoming visit by Pope Benedict XVI, news agencies reported.

The private Dogan news agency said the protester had tossed his gun into the garden of the Istanbul residence after allegedly firing the shots.

The protester shouted, “I am happy to be a Muslim” as he was detained, according to Dogan.

CNN Turk said police detained the man.

An Italian diplomat in Ankara confirmed the incident and said it appeared to be directed at the Italian diplomatic mission, but added that they were not sure if the shooting was in protest of the papal visit.

Police officials were not immediately available for comment.

Benedict is scheduled to visit Turkey between Nov. 28 and Dec. 1.

It would be Benedict’s first visit as pope to a predominantly Muslim country, just two months after he provoked widespread anger by quoting an emperor who characterized the Prophet Muhammad’s teachings as “evil and inhuman.”

The pope has since expressed his regrets for offending Muslims and called for dialogue with Islam.

© 2013 msnbc.com

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