Turkish officials continued to vent their fury at Pope Francis on Monday, one day after he called the mass killing of Armenians a century ago “the first genocide of the 20th century,” at a commemorative mass at the Vatican, the New York Times writes.
The latest outraged response came from Volkan Bozkir, Turkey’s minister for European affairs, who significantly upped the ante on his colleagues by suggesting that Argentines as whole, and not just the pope, had been brainwashed by rich and powerful Armenians in their midst.
In remarks broadcast on national television, Mr. Bozkir began by reminding reporters that Pope Francis, born Jorge Mario Bergoglio in Buenos Aires in 1936, is “an Argentine.” Mr. Bozkir then hinted that the country has a dark past of its own. “Argentina was a country that welcomed the leading executors of the Jewish Holocaust, Nazi torturers, with open arms,” he said.
Mr. Bozkir then sought to provide an explanation for where Argentines might have gotten the idea that the 1.5 million Armenians killed between 1915 and 1923 in the last days of the Ottoman Empire had been slaughtered intentionally.
“In Argentina,” Mr. Bozkir asserted, “the Armenian diaspora controls the media and business.” The minister provided no evidence for his assertion and was not asked for any. (One prominent member of the Armenian diaspora in Argentina, Eduardo Eurnekian, is a billionaire who did once have significant media holdings, but he sold them two decades ago,according to Forbes.)
Argentina, which is home of the largest community of Armenians in South America, more than 100,000, angered the Turks in 2006 by adopting legislation that formally recognized April 24 as a day “in commemoration of the Armenian Genocide.”