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Turkish PM criticizes Pope’s remarks on Armenian Genocide

Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu criticized Sunday Pope Francis’s description of 1915 incidents as “genocide,” Anadolu Agency reports.

Davutoglu spoke to journalists in Istanbul, before an event to commemorate Prophet Mohammad’s birth. He said that Pope’s statement was “unfortunate,” “incorrect” and “inconsistent.”

Davutoglu said the remarks were not just about reading the history wrong, but also “lend credence to the growing racism in Europe,” as well as accusing Turks and Muslims of a collective crime.

“It is unbecoming of Pope and his authority to read the 1915 incidents unilaterally and to cover the pains of others by owning the pains of only a part of mankind,” Davutoglu said.

He said that without the external factors, “The painful events of 1915 would probably not have been experienced.”

Davutoglu said that “when pains, especially those experienced in war time, are shared and mutually owned, an environment of peace emerges.”

The Turkish prime minister said that the primary duty of the religion leaders is not to create new environments of conflict and hate from historic debates, but to invite people to make peace and live together.

Davutoglu recalled President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s statements in 2014 and onwards, calling them “open-hearted” toward the pains of Armenians. Davutoglu cited Ankara’s stance toward Yerevan and issued a call to open a new era in relations between the two countries.

“Let’s open the archives,” Davutoglu said, regarding the 1915 events, in reference to Turkey’s long-standing offer on creating an international board of historians to investigate the issue.

Davutoglu said he hoped the pontiff “will consider his position.”

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