April 14, 2015

Erdoğan warns Pope not to repeat mistake of 'genocide' remarks

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on Tuesday that he curses Pope Francis over his use of the word “genocide” during a mass on Sunday while referring to 1915 events in Turkey, and urges him “not to commit the same mistake again.”

In his remarks to a delegation from the Turkish Exporters Assembly (TİM) at the presidential palace, Erdoğan said he felt extreme sorrow over Pope Francis' remarks about the so-called Armenian genocide.

“I again reiterate the call for a joint commission [on the events] and emphasize that we are ready to open our archives to their full extent. I condemn Mr. Pope, hoping that he will not make the same mistake again, and want to urge him [not to do so],” Erdoğan stated.

Pope Francis described the mass killings of Armenians under Ottoman rule at the end of World War I as “the first genocide of the 20th century” during a mass on Sunday, in which the Armenian Catholic rite was celebrated in St. Peter's Basilica to honor the centenary of the 1915 events, adding that “concealing or denying evil is like allowing a wound to keep bleeding without bandaging it.”

Erdoğan referred to the pope's recent visit to Turkey last November and said he had saw “a different politician” during the meetings that the two had. He vowed not to let historic events be taken out of context and be used for propaganda against Turkey. 

Saying that Turkey knows and feels sorrow over the pain that Armenians have experienced, as it does for Circassians and Crimean Tatars, Erdoğan also referred to his letter last year in which he extended Turkey's condolences to the grandchildren of Armenians who lost their lives in 1915.

“While making this statement, I also added a paragraph. While Armenians were being killed in our country, in the same way sons of the Ottoman Empire were killed by Armenians, members of other countries. I recorded these [facts] there. As we are discussing the Armenian issue, we need to put the issue in light of its true meaning,” Erdoğan said, and reiterated his call for historians to deal with the issue and a joint commission to investigate the 1915 events.

“When politicians, religious leaders assumes historians' job, what comes from this is derangement not reality,” he said.

After the pope's remarks, Turkey immediately recalled its ambassador to the Holy See, Mehmet Paçacı, to Ankara for “consultations.” The Vatican's ambassador in Ankara, Archbishop Antonio Lucibello, was summoned to the Foreign Ministry on Sunday as well.(Cihan/Today's Zaman)


Circassian Question
Articles How Circassians are reclaiming their roots after many years of suppression