First the news from Rosie Scammell for the Guardian:
“Pope Francis has described the mass killing of Armenians 100 years ago as a genocide, a politically explosive pronouncement that could damage diplomatic relations with Turkey.
During a special mass to mark the centenary of the mass killing, the pontiff referred to “three massive and unprecedented tragedies” of the past century. “The first, which is widely considered the first genocide of the twentieth century, struck your own Armenian people,” he said, quoting a declaration signed in 2001 by Pope John Paul II and Kerekin II, leader of the Armenian church.
“Bishops and priests, religious women and men, the elderly and even defenceless children and the infirm were murdered,” the pope said.
Historians estimate that as many as 1.5 million Armenians were killed in a wave of violence that accompanied the fall of the Ottoman empire. Despite the massacre being formally recognized as a genocide by Italy and a number of other countries, Turkey refuses to accept it as such.
The Pope went on to say. Very Pope like;
“We recall the centenary of that tragic event, that immense and senseless slaughter whose cruelty your forebears had to endure. It is necessary, and indeed a duty, to honour their memory, for whenever memory fades, it means that evil allows wounds to fester,” he said in St Peter’s Basilica.
Well, I agree with the Pope it happened and millions of Armenians around the world will weep at this recognition from a father to a church they consider an important part of their own church.
But man oh man, is this going to land like a stinky egg, finally broken open, in Turkey. I know Erdogan and he’s not going to like this one little bit. His recent move to the right means this will create a huge wave there.