ANKARA (ArmRadio)—The Turkish Foreign Ministry has slammed Pope Francis for using the word genocide during his trip to Armenia, accusing the Pontiff of “pursuing an unconditional commitment to Armenian perspective of the controversy.”
In a statement released on its official website Monday, the ministry said “Pope Francis’ bias on historical events and marginalizing attitude during his visit to Armenia does not comply with his frequently-emphasized efforts to build peace between different groups.”
The ministry said it was disappointing to see that Pope Francis had no contribution to establishing highly-needed peace and stability in Eastern Caucasus in the wake of recent clashes at the Karabakh line of contact.
The statement added that Pope Francis was instead expected to put efforts in establishing peace and friendship for the coming generations.
Turkey says Pope Francis’ description of the WWI mass killing of Armenians as genocide shows “the mentality of the Crusades,” the BBC reports.
The pontiff’s remarks have “no relation to reality,” Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Nurettin Canikli said.
Pope Francis’ reference to the Armenian mass killing as “genocide” is a “political statement” that reflects a crusader mentality, Canikli said, according to state broadcaster TRT.
Pope Francis made the comments on Friday during a visit to the Armenian capital, Yerevan.
“This tragedy, this genocide, has unfortunately marked the start of a sad series of great catastrophes of the last century,” he said.
Canikli hit back late on Saturday, describing the remarks as “unfortunate.”
“It is possible to see all the hallmarks or reflections of the mentality of the Crusades in the Pope’s activities,” he said, quoted by the state-run Anadolu News Agency, referring to military campaigns in medieval times promoted by the papacy against Muslims in the Middle East.
Pope Francis also used the phrase last year, prompting Turkey to recall its envoy to the Vatican for 10 months.