Turkey has reacted angrily to the Vatican following a statement from Pope Francis describing the mass killings of Armenians during World War I as “the first genocide of the twentieth century” during a meeting with a delegation led by Patriarch of Cilicia of Armenian Catholics on June 3.
“The Turkish Foreign Ministry delivered Turkey’s views on the issue and expressed disappointment to the embassy inAnkara and Vatican in Rome,” a Turkish diplomat told the Hürriyet Daily News on June 7.
Pope Francis, during a meeting Monday with a delegation led by Nerses Bedros XIX, Catholicos Patriarch of Cilicia of the Armenian Catholics at the Vatican reiterated his earlier recognition of the Armenian Genocide.
During the visit, the pope met with members of the delegation, when one of them said that she was a descendant of Genocide victims, to which the pontiff responded: “The first genocide of the 20th Century was that of the Armenians,” thus reiterating his earlier recognition of the Armenian Genocide while he headed the Catholic Church in Buenos Aires as Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio.
Seven years ago, during events marking the 91st anniversary of the Armenian Genocide in Buenos Aires, then Archbishop of Buenos Aires Jorge Mario Bergoglio urged Turkey to recognize the Genocide as the “gravest crime of Ottoman Turkey against the Armenian people and the entire humanity.”