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As ambassador reinstated, Turkish, Armenian governments differ over Vatican statement

February 05, 2016

Turkey reinstated its ambassador to the Holy See because of the wording of a recent Vatican statement, according to the Turkish foreign ministry.

Turkey recalled its ambassador in April after Pope Francis, quoting St. John Paul II, said that the mass killing of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire “is generally referred to as the first genocide of the twentieth century.”

At the conclusion of Pope Francis’s February 3 general audience, Rinaldo Mirmara, a historian and president of Caritas Turkey, presented the Pope with a copy of his new history of the Battle of the Dardanelles (1657), which took place during the Fifth Ottoman-Venetian War.

The Holy See Press Office said in a statement that day that “the repeated commitment of Turkey to make its archives available to historians and researchers of interested parties in order to arrive jointly at a better understanding of historical events and the pain and suffering endured by all parties, regardless of their religious or ethnic identity, caught up in war and conflict, including the tragic events of 1915, is noted and appreciated.”

A Turkish newspaper report implied that the Vatican statement’s reference to “the tragic events of 1915” meant that the Holy See was backtracking from the use of the word “genocide”—an interpretation that the Armenian foreign ministry described as “totally false.”


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