Monday, April 13

100th anniversary of the slaughter of Armenians : Turkey recalls ambassador over pope's Armenia genocide words

VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis on Sunday marked the 100th anniversary of the slaughter of Armenians by calling the massacre by Ottoman Turks "the first genocide of the 20th century" and urging the international community to recognize it as such. Turkey immediately responded by recalling its ambassador and accusing Francis of spreading hatred and "unfounded claims."
Francis issued the pronouncement during a Mass in St. Peter's Basilica commemorating the centenary that was attended by Armenian church leaders and President Serge Sarkisian, who praised the pope for calling a spade a spade and "delivering a powerful message to the international community."
"The words of the leader of a church with 1 billion followers cannot but have a strong impact," he told The Associated Press.
Historians estimate that up to 1.5 million Armenians were killed by Ottoman Turks around the time of World War I, an event widely viewed by scholars as the first genocide of the 20th century.
Turkey, however, denies a genocide took place. It has insisted that the toll has been inflated and that those killed were victims of civil war and unrest.
Francis defended his words by saying it was his duty to honor the memory of the innocent men, women and children who were "senselessly" murdered by Ottoman Turks.
"Concealing or denying evil is like allowing a wound to keep bleeding without bandaging it," he said.
He said similar massacres are under way today against Christians who because of their faith are "publicly and ruthlessly put to death — decapitated, crucified, burned alive — or forced to leave their homeland," a reference to the Islamic State group's assault against Christians in Iraq and Syria.

No comments:

Post a Comment