UN Chief questions pope’s ‘genocide’ claims

UN chief says 1915 events should only be commemorated to form cooperation to prevent future atrocities, as Pope called events ‘genocide’

Updated Jul 28, 2015

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called to strengthen collective determination in regard to the 1915 events to prevent future atrocities Monday.

Ban’s statement followed Pope Francis’s Armenian ‘genocide’ claims made during an Armenian mass rite at the St. Peters Basilica which was organized to mark the 100th anniversary of 1915 events. The pope called the events “the first genocide of the 20th century.”

U.N. spokesperson Stephane Dujarric stated that Ban solely believes the remembrance of the 1915 events should “strengthen our collective determination” to form cooperation with a view that will surface the facts regarding the tragic events and to prevent future atrocities.

Previously the Turkish government has reiterated upon historians to research Ottoman archives to reveal the truth behind the encounter between the Ottoman government and the Armenian citizens.
Following the steps of the Turkish government, the German government also called for historians to study the events of 1915, saying it would not intervene in.

“It is a question that should be dealt with historians and experts,” said Deputy Government Spokesperson Christaine Wirtz.

Wirtz was also recorded saying, “I would not put myself into the position of a referee and decide which historical assessment is the right one.”

The 1915 events took place during World War I, leaving many Armenians killed, as well as Turkish people. Armenians describe the events as “genocide” while Turkey says both Turks and Armenians were killed.

On April 23, 2014, then prime minister - now President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan offered his condolences to the descendants of the Armenians who died during the events. He offered Armenia to establish a common commission of inquiry for 1915 events, calling for other countries to contribute to the process if they have information on the case.

Armenian side had turned down Erdoğan’s call, but rather sought for international support for their claim.

Meanwhile, Turkish Foreign Ministry recalled its ambassador to Vatican in response to the pope’s statement, after summoning the Vatican's envoy to Ankara to the ministry and conveying the message that the incident has caused "loss of trust."

The ministry said, in a statement published on its website Sunday, the pope’s comment is not accepted by the country.

Stating that Turkey would not recognize the pope's statement, the ministry’s statement said the incident would be met with a response.

TRTWorld and agencies