The problem is that he was facing Mecca. Moreso because it comes from the man who recognized--and curbed--the excesses of the Assisi gatherings.
I'm not hopping on board the sede bandwagon. It's simply a little disheartening.
(1) It's going to encourage ecumaniacs--"Why can't I sacrifice a chicken with the Unitarians? The Pope prayed facing Mecca...." And a credible rebuttal is....?
(2) The only reciprocal gesture that will be received is a pat to the head, possibly with a "Good dhimmi!" thrown in.
[Update: OK, a little better--the Holy Father is holding his pectoral cross as he prays--and the event was carried live on Turkish TV. That changes my perspective some.
Clarification: No, I am NOT accusing PBXVI of dhimmitude. I just think that it is an ambiguous-to-dubious gesture that will avail us nothing.]