Foreign relations / History of Italy / Religion

Pope Francis’ condemnation of Armenian genocide embarrasses Italian Government

During a Solemn Mass dedicated to the Armenian “martyrdom”, Pope Francis called the anti-Armenian campaign by the Turkish Authorities at the end of World War II a “genocide” comparable to the Nazi one and to Stalin’s purges in the Soviet Union.

The reaction from Ankara was predictably angry, with the Turkish Ambassador to the Holy See temporarily leaving Rome.

The Italian Government was cold, with Under-Secretary Sandro Gozi stating that judging past events is “a task for historians” and that “a Government cannot speak the ‘genocide’ word”.

Mr Gozi has the European Union portfolio. Turkey is officially a candidate country, but the negotiations have stalled. In 2005 the European Parliament passed a Resolution calling on Turkey to recognize the Armenian genocide.

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