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A Turkish actress said she was insulted on social media for acting as a translator for Pope Francis during the pontiff's visit to the country in November.

Serra Yılmaz, 60, said she was "accused of being a Christian" by Islamist trolls angered at seeing a renowned Turkish figure working with the head of the Catholic Church.

"I was accused of being a Christian because I was the translator of Pope Francis," Yılmaz said in a panel with university students in the western city of İzmir, Hurriyet newspaper reported.

"Forget about what was written against me, it is ridiculous to judge people by their beliefs.

"But there were many individuals who made groundless claims like 'the Vatican hired you,' or insulted me on social media," she said.

Yılmaz starred in numerous movies shot by Turkish-Italian director Ferzan Özpetek in Italy and is fluent in both languages.

She said she was hired by the foreign ministry to translate Francis' words into Turkish during the three-day papal visit to Ankara and Istanbul at the end of last month.

She had acted as a translator also for Francis' predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI, as he visited Turkey in 2006.

Her trolling was in stark contrast with Francis' call for an interfaith effort to counter extremism in the key speech at the start of his visit.

In Ankara the Pontiff said: "Fanaticism and fundamentalism, as well as irrational fears which foster misunderstanding and discrimination, need to be countered by the solidarity of all believers.

"Inter-religious and intercultural dialogue can make an important contribution to attaining this lofty and urgent goal," he said.

Earlier Turkey's Muslim conservative president Tayyip Recep Erdogan had lashed out at what he said was the rapid raise of Islamophobia in the West.

He said: "Racism and Islamophobia in the West and violence and terrorism in Islamic lands make it important that we come together and co-operate."

The large majority of Turkey's 80 million inhabitants are Muslim, with only around 120,000 Christians, of whom 35,000 are Catholics.