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INTERNATIONAL > Ankara upset at Vatican for pope’s remarks on mass killings of Armenians

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Pope Francis gestures on June 5, 2013 at the end of his weekly general audience on St Peter's square at the Vatican. AFP PHOTO / FILIPPO MONTEFORTE

Pope Francis gestures on June 5, 2013 at the end of his weekly general audience on St Peter's square at the Vatican. AFP PHOTO / FILIPPO MONTEFORTE

Turkey has reacted angrily to the Vatican following a statement from Pope Francis describing the mass killings of Armenians during World War I as “the first genocide of the twentieth century” during a meeting with a delegation led by Patriarch of Cilicia of Armenian Catholics on June 3.

“The Turkish Foreign Ministry delivered Turkey’s views on the issue and expressed disappointment to the embassy in Ankara and Vatican in Rome,” a Turkish diplomat told the Hürriyet Daily News on June 7.

Pope Francis described the mass killings of Armenians during World War I as “the first genocide of the 20th century” during a meeting with a delegation led by Patriarch of Cilicia of Armenian Catholics on June 3.

The pope met with members of the delegation and when one of them said that she was a descendant of genocide victims, he replied, “The first genocide of the 20th Century was that of the Armenians,” reiterating his earlier recognition of the mass killings as “Armenian Genocide” while he was the head of the Catholic Church in Buenos Aires as a cardinal.

In 2006, during events marking the 91st anniversary of the killings in Buenos Aires, he had urged Turkey to recognize “the genocide” as the “gravest crime of Ottoman Turkey against the Armenian people and the entire humanity.”

Commenting on the issue, Armenian Apostolic Church Diocese of Gougark Bishop Sebouh Chuljyan Primate said, “The pope is speaking out a historical truth. Turkey needs to see the pains and should face the genocide,” he told the Hürriyet Daily News, adding that the archives of the Vatican may be opened to investigate the issue further.

The director of the Armenian National Committee of South America, Alfonso Tabakian, explained that this was the first such statement from the pontiff since being elevated to pope and leader of the Roman Catholic Church.

Tabakian called the statement “very important since his words transcend any state or religion,” according to the Armenian weekly website.

Sevil Küçükkoşum and Vercihan Ziflioğlu contributed this story.

June/07/2013

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hanni bal

6/22/2013 2:26:30 PM

i respect the new pope for his humbleness and simplicity but he must check the FACTS. If i am correct during the Ottoman period their are thousands being tortured to death by the POPE AND ITS ALLIES. There were OTTOMAN SOLDIERS , men , women and children in the italian and balkan peninsula stationed where the Ottoman sultan have signed a "peace agreement' but the POpe and the Crusades have breached the peace contract and ordered a bloody onslaught to all MUSLIMS and TURKS. Who needs an apology?

john albay

6/15/2013 11:13:48 AM

The church has more important things to deal with than the the so called armanian problem from 100 years ago. It should deal with the preverts in the church who have ruined the lives of so many children in the world over many years and it is stil going on! Also the pope has not got a clean vest with his involment with the military leaders during the dirty war in his home country argentina!!

nky otj

6/11/2013 8:16:06 AM

PM Erdoğan also always asks to convene historians ,experts and bring all archieves together and solve it together ,but nobody has accepted it yet !

Erik Johansson

6/10/2013 9:56:05 PM

The Pope was perhaps wrong in calling it the FIRST genocide of the 20th century, but that is most certainly not the reason why the Foreign Ministry reacted so angrily. Now almost a hundred years have passed since it happened. It is pathetic. Turkey needs help.

nky otj

6/10/2013 8:26:25 PM

President Erdoğan always is asking armeninan to come see the archieves but nobody has come yet ! but they are always arguing !so what they want is just fight

Hans-Joachim "Terrorist" Zierke

6/10/2013 3:18:35 PM

Armen Armenian, the term "Mord am Volke" (genocide) was used by German press of 1921, reporting about the trial against Soghomon Tehlirian, who shot Mehmed Talât here in Berlin. It turned out, that "Mord am Volke" wasn't punishable by German law of the time, and a young law student called Raphael Lemkin got interested in this trial. Tehlirian was acquitted for lack of criminal responsibility.

Arm Armenian

6/10/2013 1:33:28 PM

The concept of the crime, which later involved into idea of the Genocide was base on the Armenian Genocide. Raphael Lemkin, for first used the word "Genocide" to define the massacres of 1915 against the Armenians.

Raymond Zak

6/10/2013 7:47:30 AM

I don't know why some Turks are out of their minds when it comes to the Armenian Genocide ? Is that a surprise for you ? Common......you know it's a historical fact. If I was a Turk ,I would go on my knees and apologize to Armenians, turn this page and start a new life.Have a nice day.

Pawel Bury

6/9/2013 5:21:57 PM

@nky, you don't even live in your own land. Regards.

Hans-Joachim "Terrorist" Zierke

6/9/2013 4:42:02 PM

nky otj, FrenchEnglish interpretation was certainly biased against the Turkish side. At the same time, Germans were all over the place (as officers, or running the railway), who were biased in favor of Turks, often held them in high regard on every account but one. They reported to Berlin, and they wrote letters to friends and family. Press reports about the genocide were strictly forbidden in D.
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