ANKARA: Turkey on Sunday said it was recalling its ambassador to the Vatican for consultations in an escalating diplomatic row over Pope Francis’ use of the word “genocide” to describe the massacres of Armenians by Ottoman forces during World War I.
“Our ambassador to the Vatican Mr. Mehmet Pacaci is being recalled back to Turkey for consultations,” the foreign ministary said in a statement after earlier summoning the Vatican’s envoy to Ankara to the ministry.
Reaffirming similar comments earlier by Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, the foreign ministry said that the pope’s comments were “incompatible with the legal and historical facts”.
It accused the pope of a “selective overview” of World War I and “ignoring the atrocities suffered by the Turkish and Muslim peoples who lost their lives” in favor of concentrating on Christians and above all Armenians.
The ministry said the pope’s comments were a “serious deviation” from the message of peace and reconciliation he brought during his landmark visit to Turkey in November last year.
“Our views were made clear on this matter when the Vatican envoy was invited to our ministry today,” it said, referring to the summoning earlier of the papal nuncio to Turkey.