ANKARA — Turkey has summoned the Vatican’s ambassador in Ankara in protest after Pope Francis quoted the word ‘genocide’ in referring to the mass killings of Armenians 100 years ago, under Ottoman rule in World War I.
“In the past century our human family had lived through three massive and unprecedented tragedies. The first, which is widely considered ‘the first genocide of the 20th century’, struck your own Armenian people,” the pontiff, in particular, said.
An official said the ambassador was told Turkey was “deeply sorry and disappointed”, adding that the pope’s comments had caused a “problem of trust”.
“The pope’s statements, which are far from historical and judicial facts, cannot be accepted,” Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on his Twitter account.
“Religious offices are not places to incite hatred and revenge with baseless accusations,” he said.
The foreign ministry called its ambassador to the Holy See back to Ankara, and summoned the Vatican’s ambassador, saying Francis’ remarks had caused a “problem of trust” in diplomatic relations.
In the weeks leading up to the landmark Mass, Ankara reportedly pressured Pope Francis to avoid uttering the word “genocide.”
According to the Associated Press news agency, Turkey’s embassy to the Vatican canceled a planned news conference for Sunday, presumably after learning that the pope will after all use the term.