13 April 2015

Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Have a Nice, Big Cup of STFU!

The Armenian Genocide is a fact.  It has been documented extensively.

So it is no surprise that Pope Francis noted this on the 100th anniversary of this atrocity.

Of course the predictable Turkish butt-hurt is also no surprise.

When Pope Francis used the term “genocide” on Sunday to describe the massacre of Armenians by Ottoman Turks 100 years ago, he was not breaking new ground. Pope John Paul II had written the same in 2001, and Francis had made similar references before.

But the timing and setting of the pope’s remarks — a Mass at St. Peter’s Basilica marking the centenary of the killings, with top Armenian religious and political leaders in attendance — drew a strong international response. Armenians worldwide expressed deep gratitude to Francis, while Turkey reacted in anger.


The Turkish government responded to the pope’s comments by recalling its ambassador to the Vatican, and summoned the Vatican’s ambassador in Ankara to express its “great disappointment and sadness.”

Turkey claims that just half a million Armenians died in fighting when they rose up against their Ottoman rulers during World War I, and denies that their deaths constitute an act of genocide.

That position conflicts with the views of most historians of the period, who agree that as many as 1.5 million Armenians were victims of genocide at the hands of the Turks.


Francis said it was “necessary, and indeed a duty,” to remember the Armenians killed, “for whenever memory fades, it means that evil allows wounds to fester. Concealing or denying evil is like allowing a wound to keep bleeding without bandaging it!”

Among those listening at St. Peter’s were Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan and the leadership of the Armenian Apostolic Church, including Karekin II and Aram I, the two Catholicoi at the top of the church’s hierarchy.


Turkey said Francis’ comments “contradicted his message of peace, reconciliation and dialogue” made during his visit to the country in November.

“The pope’s statement, which is far from the legal and historical reality, cannot be accepted,” Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu tweeted on Sunday.

“Religious authorities are not the places to incite resentment and hatred with baseless allegations,” he added.

Francis now risks losing Turkey’s support as he seeks to defend Christian communities being persecuted by Islamic State in Syria and Iraq. Many Christians have sought refuge in Turkey, a predominantly Muslim country, as they have fled the Islamist militants.
Does anyone hear this statement, and interpret it as saying, "Nice Christians, you have there, it would be a shame if anything happened to them."

I do understand that the Turks have made a habit of denying the Armenian Genocide, which has never made much sense to me, since the government that did it, the Ottoman Empire ceased to exist almost a century ago.

I do understand why Erdoğan's government is determined to whitewash this though.  It is very clear that his AKP party is trying to relegate the reforms of tye Young Turks and Ataturk to the dust-bin of history. 

That is why the plans to redevelop Taksim square included the rebuilding of the Taksim Military Barracks, which was a central symbol of the attempted Ottoman counter coup in 1909.


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