YEREVAN (ARKA) — Armenia’s Public Council said today it is waiting for clarifications regarding comments made by the head of the Russian orthodox church Patriarch Kiril in an interview with Russia TV channel in which he said that relationship between Christians and Muslims have not been cloudless, adding that there are cases of forced conversion of Christians to Islam, and the conquest of Christian lands.

“But if we put military actions aside, which were always accompanied by a loss on all sides, what is happening now never happened in the Islamic world before. Take the example of the Ottoman Empire. Yes, there were Christian minorities, but they had not been destroyed,” said Kiril.

These comments made Armenian media and social networks interpret them as an indirect denial of the Armenian Genocide.

“Nobody destroyed a million and a half of Armenians in their historic homeland, conquered and plundered by the Turks, nobody massacred Greeks and Assyrians! Is this a modern interpretation of historical facts by the Russian Orthodox Church?’ the statement asks.

The Public Council expressed hope that the comments by Kiril are not a tribute to the short-term political interests, but are the result of a short-term misunderstanding.

“We are delighted that this interpretation is not backed by the leadership of the Russian Federation, as evidenced by the recognition of the Armenian Genocide in the Ottoman Empire by the State Duma of Russia, as well as by the participation of Russian President Vladimir Putin in a ceremony marking the centennial of the Armenian Genocide,’ the statement said.

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