President Erdoğan has joined those who have reacted against Pope Francis’s statement that ‘the Armenian Genocide is the first genocide of the 20th century’. Erdoğan said, “I condemn and warn the Esteemed Pope hoping he probably won’t make such mistakes again”.
In his statement, Erdoğan, in reference to the Pope’s recent visit to Ankara, said, “I saw a different politician during our meetings. I am not saying religious figure, I saw a different politician. But after these statements, I unfortunately saw the difference in both his political identity, and his stance as religious figure, entirely as the manifestation of a very, very different mentality, of a perception that throughout history has caused the slaughter of millions of people”.
“I would like to state that we will not allow historical events to be removed from their context and rendered tools of a campaign against our country” Erdoğan continued, and forwarded the debate to historians with the words, “We open all our archives. If they have any, Armenia should open its own, too, and present its documents. We are also prepared to open the archives of our armed forces.” Erdoğan said:
“But you are not willing to do that, you are trying to get results to the detriment of Turkey only through political lobbies, and with the very ugly relationship formed unfortunately the Armenian Diaspora. When politicians and religious figures assume the task of the historian, it produces not truth but delusion. I repeat my call for a commission, and want to underline that we are prepared to fully open our archives. And I condemn and warn the Esteemed Pope hoping he probably won’t make such mistakes again.”