Turkey says Pope shows ‘crusader mentality’ by calling 1915 killings genocide

Pope Francis, Catholicos of All Armenians Karekin II and Armenian President Serzh Sarksyan
Pope Francis (center), Catholicos of All Armenians Karekin II (left) and Armenian President Serzh Sarksyan arrive for a ceremony in commemoration of Armenians killed by Ottoman forces during World War One at the Tzitzernakaberd Genocide Memorial June 25, 2016, in Yerevan, Armenia. Photo via Osservatore Romano/Handout

ISTANBUL (Reuters) A Turkish deputy prime minister said on Saturday (June 25) that it was “unfortunate” that Pope Francis had labeled the 1915 massacre of Armenians by Ottoman forces a genocide, and that it reflected the papacy’s “Crusader mentality.”

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Departing from his prepared text during a visit to Armenian capital Yerevan on Friday, Pope Francis used the word “genocide” to describe the mass killings, a year after infuriating Turkey with a similar statement.

“The Pope’s statement is very unfortunate,” Nurettin Canikli told reporters in the Black Sea city of Giresun. “It is unfortunately possible to see all the reflections and traces of Crusader mentality in the actions of the papacy and the pope,” he said.

Turkey accepts that many Christian Armenians living in the Ottoman Empire were killed in clashes with Ottoman forces during World War One, but contests assertions that that up to 1.5 million were killed, and denies the killings were orchestrated and so constitute a genocide. It also says many Muslim Turks perished at the time.

“It is not an objective statement, and it does not reflect the truth and … the whole world knows this and so do the Armenians,” Canikli said in comments published by the daily Hurriyet.

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  • The pope should be going to Croatia where the Ustasha was the Catholic Croatian government supported by Pope Pius XII during World War II. They killed, tortured and maimed an estimated 500,000 Serbs, Jews and Roma. Victims of this genocide and their heirs have yet to receive compensation for the assets stolen from them by this Nazi puppet regime and deposited in the Vatican Bank.