Pope Francis’s use of the word ‘Genocide’ during Vatican mass commemorating 100th Anniversary of Armenian Genocide triggers crisis in Ankara.
The first reaction came when the Vatican’s Ambassador was summoned to the Foreign Ministry, where he was presented with the message that Turkey was “deeply sorry and disappointed” and that Pope Francis’s statement had caused “a problem of trust”. This was followed by Turkey’s envoy to the Vatican, Ambassador Paçacı being called back to Ankara for consultation.
Prime Minister Davutoğlu said that the statement “did not suit the Pope and the position he occupies”.
Foreign Minister Çavuşoğlu responded to questions regarding the matter during an official trip to Mongolia.
Çavuşoğlu, speaking to the press, said, “The Pope’s words unfortunately constitute discrimination. The suffering of the Turks and Muslims has been overlooked.”
Çavuşoğlu stated that the Armenian events were being removed from their historical framework, and added, “Unfortunately, history is being used for political ends. A religious figure should give messages of tolerance, peace and fraternity against increasing racism, discrimination and intolerance”.
In his speech during mass at the Vatican, the Pope had stated that in the past century humanity had lived through three massive and unprecedented tragedies, the Pope added, “The first, which is widely considered the first genocide of the 20th century, struck your own Armenian people, the first Christian nation, as well as Catholic and Orthodox Syrians, Assyrians, Chaldeans and Greeks. Bishops and priests, religious women and men, the elderly and even defenceless children and the infirm were murdered”.
Ciro Benedettini, Vice Director of the Vatican’s Press Office, in a statement to journalists from Turkey, said, “For us, it was clearly known beforehand that the Pope would use these words. Pope Francis referred to the words of Pope Jean Paul II. And the speech was prepared beforehand.”