Turkish foreign minister says Pope’s ‘genocide’ comments ‘incite hatred’

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Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu spoke out against remarks made by Pope Francis on Sunday, who said during a Mass attended by the Armenian president that the killing of an estimated 1.5 million Armenians under Ottoman rule 100 years ago was “the first genocide of the 20th century.”

Armenia says that up to 1.5 million people were killed in 1915 by Ottoman forces, the BBC reports, while Turkey disputes the number and says the deaths were part of the civil conflict that started World War I. Cavusoglu tweeted, “The Pope’s statement, which is far from the legal and historical reality, cannot be accepted. Religious authorities are not the places to incite resentment and hatred with baseless allegations.”

Turkey’s foreign ministry said it felt “great disappointment and sadness” over the comments, and recalled the country’s ambassador from Rome.

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