Grand Mufti says pope's genocide comments 'immoral'

'I cannot link statement to basic Christian values,' Gormez says

21 April, 16:06

    (ANSAmed) - ANKARA, APRIL 21 - The Grand Mufti Mehmet Gormez, the top Sunni Muslim religious authority in Turkey, has repeated his criticism of Pope Francis for describing the 1915 mass killing of Armenians as genocide, Turkish media reported Tuesday. Gormez described the remarks as "immoral", according to the reports.

    "I consider the pope's statement to be immoral and I cannot link it to the basic values of Christianity," Gormez is quoted by the online edition of Zaman as saying.

    The pope stirred controversy earlier this month when during a Mass in St Peter's Basilica attended by the Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan and top church leaders he referred to "the first (tragedy of the 20th century), which is widely considered 'the first genocide of the 20th century'".

    Turkey, which has always denied a genocide in the mass killings, denounced Francis's comments even though the pope's statement and the phrase "first genocide of the 20th century" were actually borrowed from remarks written in 2001 by former Pope John Paul II in a joint declaration with the Armenian church leader, Karenkin II.

    Subsequently the Vatican said Francis used the term 'genocide' as part of a "precise and coherent line of dialogue".

    "This speech was very clear for those who wanted to grasp (its meaning), it was very rich", Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi said.

    "In the end, (it was about) the desire for reconciliation and dialogue between the Turkish people and the Armenian people", he continued.

    Gormez first criticised the pope the day after he made the comments, saying the remarks were "without foundation and inspired by... political lobbies and public relations firms".

    Numerous governments, experts and scholars in the field support Armenia's position, concluding a genocide occurred.

    Armenia and many historians say up to 1.5 million Armenian Christians were killed by Ottoman forces in 1915.(ANSAmed).

    © Copyright ANSA - All rights reserved

    Business opportunities

    The information system of business
    opportunities abroad

    News from Mediterranean