Turkey’s Deputy Prime Minister Nurettin Canikli criticized on Saturday Pope Francis’s comments on the deaths of Armenians in1915 during his recent visit to Armenia, saying that the Pope’s remarks have no relation to the truth and they reflect the mentality of crusaders.
Speaking to reporters during his visit to Giresun province in the Black Sea region, Canikli said: “First of all, it is unfortunate that the Pope made such comments. Unfortunately, just like how the U.K.’s separation from the EU has exposed, or as it is seen in this situation, the activities of the Pope and the papacy bear the traces and reflections of the crusader mentality. The same goes for the Pope’s remarks, as well.”
“It is not an impartial remark. It has no relation to reality,” Canikli said and added that the truth about the so-called ‘genocide’ is known by everyone, including the Armenians themselves.
Canikli also recalled the recent motion passed by the German parliament on recognizing the 1915 events as genocide, saying these are political decisions that have no relation to historical facts.
“These comments are political explanations and are based on religious factors,” he added.
Those claiming that the events were ‘genocide’ accuse the Ottoman government of 1915 of allegedly carrying out “systematic genocide” against Armenians, as well as other Christian minorities.
Turkey denies the alleged genocide, but acknowledges that there were casualties on both sides during the events taking place during World War I.
According to Turkey’s viewpoint, deaths of Armenians in eastern Anatolia in 1915 occurred after some sided with invading Russians and revolted against Ottoman forces. A subsequent relocation of Armenians resulted in numerous casualties.
Turkey describes the 1915 events as a tragedy for both sides.