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Turkey warns Pope Francis not to repeat the 'mistake' of using 'genocide' for mass killings of Armenians

Wednesday, April 15th 2015 - 08:19 UTC
Full article 15 comments
“Whenever politicians, religious functionaries assume the duties of historians, then delirium comes out, not fact”, said Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan “Whenever politicians, religious functionaries assume the duties of historians, then delirium comes out, not fact”, said Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan
Recalling the pope’s visit to Turkey in 2014, the president said he thought the pope was “a different politician.” “I don’t say a religious functionary,” he added. Recalling the pope’s visit to Turkey in 2014, the president said he thought the pope was “a different politician.” “I don’t say a religious functionary,” he added.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has condemned Pope Francis, warning him to not repeat the “mistake” of describing the mass killings of Ottoman Armenians as “genocide.”

 The president said he greatly regretted the pontiff’s weekend remarks in which the leader of the world’s Catholics referred to the killings of Ottoman Armenians in 1915 as “the first genocide of the 20th century.”

“Whenever politicians, religious functionaries assume the duties of historians, then delirium comes out, not fact. Hereby, I want to repeat our call to establish a joint commission of historians and stress we are ready to open our archives. I want to warn the pope to not repeat this mistake and condemn him,” Erdoğan said at a meeting of the Turkish Exporters Assembly (TİM) on April 14.

“In the past century our human family has lived through three massive and unprecedented tragedies,” the pope said. “The first, which is widely considered ‘the first genocide of the 20th century,’ struck your own Armenian people,” he said in the presence of Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan.

Recalling the pope’s visit to Turkey in 2014, the president said he thought the pope was “a different politician.” “I don’t say a religious functionary,” he added.

“His remarks display the appearance of a mentality different to that of a religious functionary,” Erdoğan said. “I won’t let historical events be brought out of their own course and turned into a campaign against our country and nation.”

The pope made the pronouncement during a Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica commemorating the centenary that was attended by Armenian church leaders and Sargsyan. Francis said it was his duty to honor the memory of the innocent men, women and children who were “senselessly” murdered by Ottoman Turks.

On April 13 the European Union urged Turkey and Armenia to normalize ties.

EU foreign affairs spokesperson Maja Kocijancic said the EU was encouraging the two countries “to consider additional, meaningful steps that would pave the way toward full reconciliation.”

Armenia says up to 1.5 million Ottoman Armenians were killed in a genocide starting in 1915. Turkey denies that the deaths amounted to genocide, saying the death toll of Armenians killed during mass deportations has been inflated and that those killed in 1915 and 1916 were victims of general unrest during World War I.

Categories: Politics, International.

Top Comments

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  • Idlehands

    Let's hope the Pope repeats his remarks immediately. I doubt it was anything other than intentional when he first said it.

    Apr 15th, 2015 - 08:31 am 0
  • Teaboy2

    Turkey still denying the facts i see!

    Apr 15th, 2015 - 09:32 am 0
  • Conqueror

    Erdogan needs to pull his neck in. At the very least. His 'joint commission of historians' would raise more questions.

    After a considerable amount of reading, it seems to me that Turks always want to have a minority that they can look down. It seems that in the early 20th century it was Armenians. Nowadays it's Kurds.

    Erdogan describes himself as a moderate Islamist. What does that mean? Back in 1915, the Armenians were Christians. The Ottoman Empire was Islamic. Religion doesn't play much part in the antipathy to the Kurds. Very few Kurds are Christian. 99.8% of Turks are muslim. Why didn't Turkey go to the assistance of the Kurds fighting against IS?

    So it must just be a 'superiority' thing. Argies and nazis come to mind.

    Apr 15th, 2015 - 10:56 am 0
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