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Turkish government rips Pope's reference to 'genocide,' will recall ambassador

June 28, 2016

The government of Turkey has issued a stern statement decrying the use of the term "genocide" by Pope Francis in reference to the 1915 deaths of 1.5 million Armenians.

The Pope's weekend visit to Armenia "did not make any contribution to peace and security," the Turkish foreign ministry complained. The statement said that the Turkish government was "disappointed" by the Pope's public statements, and charged that he was guilty of "discrimination on the basis of religion." (Turkey is an Islamic country; the victims of the Armenian genocide were mostly Christian.) Deputy Prime Minister Nurettin Canikli said that the Pope demonstrated a "Crusades mentality" during the visit.

Citing "reliable Turkish diplomatic sources," the Turkish newspaper Hurriyet reported that the Ankara government would recall its ambassador to the Holy See for consultations in response to the Pope's statements.

Last year the Turkish government recalled its ambassador from Rome-- and summoned the Vatican's representative in Ankara to lodge a formal complaint-- after Pope Francis referred to the Armenian massacre as “the first genocide of the 20th century.” The Turkish government, which refuses to acknowledge the genocidal campaign, said that phrase was "unacceptable."

 
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