Pope releases peace doves on Armenia-Turkey border

Pope Francis on Sunday released peace doves on the Armenia-Turkey border in a gesture of reconciliation as Ankara slammed the pontiff for denouncing the mass killings of Armenians by Ottoman forces as “genocide”.

Standing on a terrace of the Khor Virap monastery, Pope Francis and the head of the Armenian Apostolic Church Kareki- II released the two white birds in the direction of Mount Ararat — the Biblical final resting place of Noah’s Ark — now in modern-day Turkey.

The long-planned gesture at the end of a three-day visit to Armenia came in the face of fresh Turkish ire after Pope Francis used the word “genocide” to refer to the century-old slaughter that Ankara furiously rejects.

The Vatican was forced to refute claims from Turkey that Pope Francis showed a “mentality of the Crusades”.

Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Nurettin Canikli late on Saturday labelled the Pope’s declaration “very unfortunate” and said it bore traces of “the mentality of the Crusades”. “It is not an objective statement that conforms with reality,” Mr. Canikli said.

The Vatican rejected the allegations and said the Pope was trying to build “bridges not walls” and had nothing against Turkey.

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Printable version | May 14, 2021 5:25:01 PM |

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