Turkish PM Recalls Vatican Ambassador After Pope Recognizes Armenian Genocide

armenia genocide
A still frame from the 1919 documentary film Auction of Souls, which portrayed eye witnessed events from the Armenian Genocide of Christians, including crucified Christian girls. (Raymond Ibrahim)

The Armenian Genocide, or Medz Yeghern, was the Ottoman government’s systematic extermination of its minority Armenian subjects inside their historic homeland which lies within the territory constituting the present-day Republic of Turkey. The total number of people killed as a result has been estimated at between 1 and 1.5 million. The starting date is conventionally held to be 24 April 1915, the day Ottoman authorities rounded up and arrested some 250 Armenian intellectuals and community leaders in Constantinople. The genocide was carried out during and after World War I. At the beginning of 1915 there were some two million Armenians within Turkey; today there are fewer than 60,000.

This past weekend Pope Francis recognized the Armenian Genocide during a mass at St. Peter’s Basilica to mark the 100 year anniversary of the mass slaughter.

Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu slammed Pope Francis and recalled the Vatican ambassador after Pope Francis used the word “genocide” to describe the massacre of Armenians by Ottoman forces during World War I.

Zee News reported:

Turkey on Sunday recalled its ambassador to the Vatican for consultations as Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu lashed out at Pope Francis for “inappropriate” and “one-sided” comments after he used the word “genocide” to describe the massacres of Armenians by Ottoman forces during World War I.

“To read these sorrows in a one-sided way is inappropriate for the pope and the authority that he holds,” Davutoglu said in televised comments as a diplomatic row escalated between Turkey and the Vatican.

Our ambassador to the Vatican Mr Mehmet Pacaci is being recalled back to Turkey for consultations,” the foreign ministry said in a statement after earlier summoning the Vatican`s envoy to Ankara to the ministry.

“In the past century our human family has lived through three massive and unprecedented tragedies,” Pope Francis said during a solemn mass in Saint Peter`s Basilica to mark the centenary of the Ottoman Turk killings of Armenians.

“The first, which is widely considered `the first genocide of the 20th century`, struck your own Armenian people,” he said, citing a statement signed by John Paul II and the Armenian patriarch in 2000.

While many historians describe the cull as the 20th century`s first genocide, Turkey hotly denies the accusation.

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