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Erdogan warns pope not to label Armenian killings as genocide

‘I want to warn the pope to not repeat this mistake and condemn him,’ says Erdogan

Published: Updated:

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has slammed Pope Francis, warning him not to repeat the “mistake” of describing the mass killings of Armenians under Ottoman rule in WWI as “genocide.”

“Whenever politicians, religious functionaries assume the duties of historians, then delirium comes out, not fact. Hereby, I want to repeat our call to establish a joint commission of historians and stress we are ready to open our archives. I want to warn the pope to not repeat this mistake and condemn him,” the local Hurriyet Daily News quoted Erdogan as saying Tuesday in a meeting.

While addressing the Turkish Exporters Assembly (TİM), Erdogan expressed his regret over Pope Francis’ statement, who leads the Catholic world, when the latter described the killings of Armenians in 1915 as “the first genocide of the 20th century.”

Recalling the pope’s visit to Turkey in 2014, the Turkish leader said he thought the Vatican leader was “a different politician.”

He added: “I don’t say a religious functionary.

“His remarks display the appearance of a mentality different to that of a religious functionary,” Erdogan explained.

But Erdogan vowed that he “won’t let historical events be brought out of their own course and turned into a campaign against our country and nation.”

The pope made his recent remark during a Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica commemorating the centenary that was attended by Armenian Church leaders and Sargsyan.

Meanwhile, the European Union on April 13 urged Turkey and Armenia to normalize ties.