Turkish government figures reacted strongly to Pope Francis over his use of the word “genocide” during a mass on Sunday, referring to the 1915 mass killings of Armenians under the Ottoman empire. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan warned him to not make the same “mistake” again, BGN News reports.
Ethnic Armenian Etyen Mahcupyan, a former journalist and adviser to the Turkish Prime Minister, has said there was no other way of viewing the incidents of 1915.
“It is impossible to classify what happened as anything other than ‘genocide’,” Mahcupyan said, adding that it was more important to own up to the mistakes of history and learn from it, and for Turks and Armenians alike to be able to view historic events together with empathy.
“The Vatican has cleared the pressure it has been held under for the past 100 years,” Mahcupyan said. “Instead of being outraged as to why the pope decided to use this word after 100 years, one should question why they have been caving into pressure for the past 100 years.”
Mahcupyan noted, “The ‘genocide’ word no longer has political meaning but a psychological one.”