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Turkey recalls its ambassador in Vatican for consultations after Pope’s genocide comments

April 13, 2015, 8:24 UTC+3 ANKARA
The Turkish authorities are "disappointed" by the comments made by Pope Francis, who used the word "genocide" in describing the mass killing of Armenians under Ottoman rule in World War I
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Pope Francis (left) is greeted by the head of Armenia's Orthodox Church Karekin II

Pope Francis (left) is greeted by the head of Armenia's Orthodox Church Karekin II

© AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia

ANKARA, April 12. /TASS/. Turkey has recalled its Ambassador to the Vatican Mehmet Paraci for consultations after Pope Francis’ genocide comments, the Turkish Foreign Ministry said on Sunday.

The Turkish authorities are "disappointed" by the comments made by Pope Francis, who used the word "genocide" in describing the mass killing of Armenians under Ottoman rule in World War I, Reuters said on Sunday. The statement made by the Pope causes a "problem of trust" between Turkey and the Vatican, the authorities said.

Pope Francis’ comments about the genocide of Armenians are unacceptable as they distort history, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told journalists. "The Pope’s statement which is far from historic and legal truths is unacceptable," Cavusoglu said. "Religious positions are not places where unfounded claims are made and hatred is stirred," he added.

Pope Francis’ comments came at a service in Rome’s St. Peter’s Basilica attended by Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan.

The Pope said humanity had lived through "three massive and unprecedented tragedies" in the last century. "The first, which is widely considered 'the first genocide of the 20th Century', struck your own Armenian people," Pope Francis said, referencing a 2001 declaration by Pope John Paul II and the head of the Armenian church.

The Pope said that "Catholic and Orthodox Syrians, Assyrians, Chaldeans and Greeks" were also killed in the bloodshed a century ago.

The Turkish Foreign Ministry summoned the Vatican envoy Antonio Lucibello for explanations earlier on Sunday.

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