CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Saturday, 18 May 2019

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Words are the new bullets in Battle of the Dardanelles

VATICAN (SE): Turkey recalled its ambassador to the Vatican last year in protest against the use of the word genocide by Pope Francis on April 24 to describe the mass killing of Armenians by the Ottoman Empire.

Quoting Pope Benedict XVI, Pope Francis said, “It is generally referred to as the first genocide of the 20th century.”

As part of the patch up on relations between the Holy See and Istanbul, on February 3 this year, Rinaldo Mirmara, an historian and president of Caritas Turkey, presented Pope Francis with a copy of a new history of the Battle of the Dardanelles (1657), which took place during the Fifth Ottoman-Venetian War.

The Holy See press office then said in a statement that “the repeated commitment of Turkey to make its archives available to historians and researchers of interested parties in order to arrive jointly at a better understanding of historical events and the pain and suffering endured by all parties, regardless of their religious or ethnic identity, caught up in war and conflict, including the tragic events of 1915, is noted and appreciated.”

A Turkish newspaper implied that the Vatican statement on “the tragic events of 1915,” meant that the Holy See was backtracking on the use of genocide—an interpretation that the Armenian foreign ministry described as totally false.

Whatever about the Vatican, Pope Francis is not backtracking on his statement of one and a bit years ago and, it seems, words are now the new bullets in the Battle of the Dardanelles.

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