Pope Francis has angered the Turkish government by calling the massacre of 1.5 million Armenians, nearly a century ago, “the first genocide of the 20th century.”
The pontiff made the comment during a June 3 meeting with Armenian Catholic Patriarch Nerses Bedros XIX Tarmouni of Cilicia , when one member of the group said she was a descendant of genocide victims.
Hurriyet Daily News reported Friday that Turkey’s foreign ministry has lodged a formal protest with the Vatican and expressed its “disappointment” with the Pope for making the comment.
This isn’t the first time Pope Francis has used the term genocide. While serving as Archbishop of Buenos Aires, then-Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio described the killing and forced deportation of millions of Armenians as “the gravest crime of Ottoman Turkey against the Armenian people and all of humanity.”
Several countries that recognize genocide including Argentina, Germany, Greece Russia, Lebanon and Venezuela, Vatican City and Canada.