ANKARA–Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday blasted Pope Francis for his reaffirmation of the Armenian Genocide and warned the pontiff to not make the same “mistake” again, reported the Turkish media.
Speaking to the Turkish Exporters Assembly at the presidential palace, Erdogan said: “I condemn the Pope and hope that he will not make the same mistake again, and want to urge him [not to do so],” reported Today’s Zaman.
Pope Francis described the slaughter of 1.5 million Armenians under the Ottoman Empire 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. The pope added that “concealing or denying evil is like allowing a wound to keep bleeding without bandaging it.”
“Whenever politicians, religious functionaries assume the duties of historians, then delirium comes out, not fact. Hereby, I want to repeat our call to establish a joint commission of historians and stress we are ready to open our archives,” added Erdogan.
The Turkish leader claimed that during a recent visit to Turkey, the pope had allegedly vowed that “to not let historic events be taken out of context and be used for propaganda against Turkey,” said Erdogan, adding that the pope had come off as “a different politician.
“His remarks display the appearance of a mentality different to that of a religious functionary,” Erdogan said. “I won’t let historical events be brought out of their own course and turned into a campaign against our country and nation.”
Erdogan also made reference to the no infamous “condolence” statement he made on April 23, 2014, in which he offered condolences to the grandchildren of Armenians who died during World War I and reiterated his call for historian to study the Armenian Genocide.
Official Claims Pope and Argentines are “Brainwashed”
Turkey’s minister of European Affiars, Volkan Bozkir, in remarks broadcast on national TV on Monday said the Argentineans as a whole, and not just the pope, had been “brainwashed by rich and powerful Armenians,” reported the New York TImes.
“In Argentina,” Bozkir asserted, “the Armenian diaspora controls the media and business.” The minister provided no evidence for his assertion and was not asked for any, added the New York Times.
“I would like to note that the pope is from Argentina, a country that hosted Nazi war criminals who perpetrated unspeakable crimes against humanity,” Bozkir said, while speaking at rally in Istanbul, reported Today’s Zaman.