Comments made by Pope Francis on the events of 1915 were condemned harshly by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in the Turkish capital of Ankara on April 14.
The head of Roman Catholic church - Pope Francis - called the events of 1915 a “genocide” carried out by Turkish soldiers, in the presence of Armenian church leaders and President Serge Sarkisian in St. Peter’s Basilica of Rome on April 13.
“I condemn and warn the Pope to avoid making similar mistakes again,” said Erdogan in response to the Pope’s statements, before summoning the Turkey’s Vatican envoy back to Turkey.
President Erdogan responded to Pope’s comments at a meeting with Turkish exporters at the Presidential Palace in Ankara by saying,“We will not allow historical incidents to be taken out of their genuine context, and be used as a tool to a campaign against our country.”
“Whenever politicians or religious functionaries assume the duties of historians, then absurdity comes out, not the fact. I want to repeat our call to establish a common commission of historians and emphasise we are ready to open our archives,” he added.
A portion of the Armenian population living in the Ottoman Empire was relocated in 1915 during World War I, which claimed the lives of both Armenians and Turks.
The Ottoman Empire relocated Armenian citizens in eastern Anatolia after they sided with the Russians and started to fight against the Empire.
Armenia claims that up to 1.5 million Armenians died during the relocation, while Turkey says the number of deaths was much smaller.
The date of April 24, 1915 was marked by Armenia as the start of the events they regard as the “genocide”.
Turkey has called for the establishment of a joint commission of historians and the opening of both Armenia’s and Turkey’s archives to form a joint narrative on happened during the relocation of Armenians in the World War I.