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ANKARA, April 15. /TASS/.Turkey does not recognize the Armenian Genocide accusations against it, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Wednesday. According to him, the country should not defend itself against such accusations, as it’s senseless.
"Why should our nation defend itself? Our country is home to about 100,000 Armenians, and my country is not taking any action against them. We used state budget funds to restore the Armenian church in Akdamar where divine services are held," said the Turkish leader.
The European Parliament plans to discuss on Wednesday a resolution on the 1915 events in the Ottoman Empire. "Whatever decision the European Parliament announces, we’ll disregard it. Because Turkey cannot accept such accusations," Erdogan said.
On Sunday, April 12, at a solemn mass in memory of the victims of the genocide in St. Peter’s Basilica that was attended by Armenian believers, including President of Armenia Serzh Sargsyan, Pope Francis said, "The Armenian Genocide is the first genocide of the 20th century." After these words of the Pope, the Turkish Foreign Ministry summoned the Vatican ambassador in Ankara for explanations and recalled its ambassador to the Vatican for consultations.
On April 24, Armenia will hold events dedicated to the 100th anniversary of Armenian Genocide in the Ottoman Empire in which 1.5 million people were killed. Armenians recognise April 24, 1915, as the start of the mass killings, which they have long considered genocide. However, Turks bitterly dispute that claim, saying the numbers of dead are inflated and that the dead were killed in the course of fighting during the war.
According to the BBC: "Pope Francis’ focus today on Armenia, the first country to adopt Christianity as its state religion, even before the conversion of the Roman Emperor Constantine, serves as yet another reminder of the Catholic Church’s widely spread roots in Eastern Europe and the Middle East. More than 20 local Eastern Catholic Churches, including that of Armenia, remain in communion with Rome."