Pope’s Armenian Genocide Remarks Upset Turkey

Today, at the beginning of a service at St. Peter’s Basilica for the Mass in the Armenian Catholic rites, Pope Francis remarked that the killing of Armenians in Turkey prior to and during WWI, generally known as the Armenian Genocide, should be recognized as genocide by the entire world. The remark resulted in the Turkish government calling the ambassador from the Vatican to travel to the embassy so they could express the government’s great displeasure with the statements. The Turkish embassy to the Vatican also cancelled a news conference that was planned to take place after the mass.

This is not the first Holy See to call the deaths genocide. The Pope named a declaration that St. John Paul II and the leader of the Armenian Church, Karenkin II, signed in 2001 calling the events genocide. Today’s statement was especially poignant however, because it took place at the Armenian Mass at the Basilica marking the 100th anniversary of the massacres. In addition, important Armenian leaders were present. Sitting in places of honor at the mass were Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan, Nerses Deros XIX Tarmouni, patriarch of the Armenian Catholic church, and other important church officials.
Turkish Treatment of Armenians.

Pope's Armenian Genocide Remarks Upset Turkey - Clapway

The Armenian minority living in the area of what is now the Republic of Turkey have historically been persecuted by the Turkish Ottoman government. They, along with other minorities were systematically treated as second-class citizens, were over taxed, had their property confiscated, were routinely robbed, assaulted, murdered, and generally treated like slaves. The Armenian genocide appeared to be well on its way prior to the officially recognized date.

The Armenian people and historians place April 24, 1915, as the date the Ottoman government started its plan for Armenian genocide. They succeeded in killing an estimated 1.5 million people; a number that the Turkish government says is wildly inflated. April 24 is the date that about 250 Armenian community leaders and intellectuals were herded together in the capital of Constantinople and marched off to prison. They were later killed or allowed to starve. Further, during WWI all healthy males were conscripted into forced labor or massacred. The elderly, women and children were forcibly deported and made to travel by foot into the Syrian desert without the benefit of food, water, or shelter. They were subjected to rape, robbery and some were simply outright killed. Millions died as a result.

Pope's Armenian Genocide Remarks Upset Turkey - Clapway

The World’s View of The Armenian Genocide

The Turkish government has routinely denied that there was an Armenian genocide, stating that the deaths were a result of civil war. However, research into the deaths has proven to most that there was a planned, systematic attempt by the Ottoman government to kill as many Armenians as possible. The Armenian Genocide has been researched extensively and is only second to the research done on the Jewish Holocaust. However, despite overwhelming proof and documentation, some nations still do not agree there was intended genocide. The statement by Pope Francis today called for all of the world governments to acknowledge the Armenian Genocide and hold the Turkish nation responsible.

Armenia Today

The Armenian people and their native land have been through many changes over the centuries and they come from an ancient culture that is rich and colorful. They have gone from being mighty under Tigranes the Great, from95 to 66 BC, when the kingdom stretched from the Black Sea and Caspian Sea, all the way across to the Mediterranean. It was passed between the Ottoman and Parthian empires, to become part of the Soviet Union after WWI. After the fall of the Soviet Union, Armenia declared independence on August 23, 1990, and is now the Republic of Armenia. Travel to Armenia to experience its varied history, culture, and wonderful people.

This video gives us look at the discovery of 31 rolls of film from soldiers in WWII that were never developed: