Turkey says Pope Francis’ description of the WW1 mass killing of Armenians as genocide shows “the mentality of the Crusades,” the BBC reports.
The pontiff’s remarks have “no relation to reality”, Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Nurettin Canikli said.
Pope Francis’ reference to the Armenian mass killing as “genocide” is a “political statement” that reflects a crusader mentality, Turkey’s Deputy Prime Minister Nurettin Canikli said, according to state broadcaster TRT.
Pope Francis made the comments on Friday during a visit to he Armenian capital, Yerevan.
“This tragedy, this genocide, has unfortunately marked the start of a sad series of great catastrophes of the last century,” he said.
But Mr Canikli hit back late on Saturday, describing the remarks as “unfortunate”.
“It is possible to see all the hallmarks or reflections of the mentality of the Crusades in the Pope’s activities,” he said, quoted by the state-run Anadolu news agency, referring to military campaigns in Medieval times promoted by the papacy against Muslims in the Middle East.
Pope Francis also used the phrase last year, prompting Turkey to recall its envoy to the Vatican for 10 months.