Turkey mulls further measures against Vatican as envoy returns to Ankara
Turkey’s ambassador to the Vatican, Mehmet Paçacı returned to Ankara late April 12, after Ankara’s strong reaction against Pope Francis’ description of the mass killings of Armenians at the hands of the Ottoman Empire as genocide.
“The steps that will be taken [against the Vatican] will be made public following our consultations,” Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu told reporters on April 13 at a press conference in Mongolia.
“In the past century our human family has lived through three massive and unprecedented tragedies,” the Pope said April 12 during at a 100th anniversary Mass with the participation of Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan. “The first, which is widely considered ‘the first genocide of the 20th century,’ struck your own Armenian people.”
Çavuşoğlu criticized Pope Francis for making discrimination between the pains of all people in 1915 and for ignoring the sufferings of Muslims and Turks in Anatolia.
“Unfortunately, history was made an instrument of politics. Before anything else, a religious man should have given a message of brotherhood, peace and tolerance in the face of recently growing racism, discrimination, xenophobia and intolerance,” he said.
“These remarks are null and void for the Turkish people and Turkey,” Çavuşoğlu added, underlining that genocide is a “legal concept” and therefore the use of this word by Pope is “nothing but slander.”
The withdrawal of Paçacı was announced by the Turkish Foreign Ministry’s strong-worded statement late on the afternoon of April 12 that accused Pope Francis of being “one-sided” and “distorting historical facts.”