No: 145, 27 June 2016, Press Release Regarding the Statements of Pope Francis and the Common Declaration Signed During his Trip to Armenia on 24-26 June 2016

During his trip to Armenia on 24-26 June 2016, Pope Francis visited the so-called genocide memorial, made unfortunate statements regarding the 1915 events, signed together with the Armenian Apostolic Church a Common Declaration which makes unacceptable references to the events of 1915 and on his way back alluded to statements proved to be fictious and defamatory. Such acts revealed once again his unconditional commitment to the Armenian narrative on the events of 1915 which is incompatible with historical facts and law.

Indeed, the statements made before the visit, as well as the preparations of the visit had established the fact that this visit was already exploited. Pope Francis, unfortunately, just as he did last year, left Turkey and the Turkish people frustrated. Thus, discrimination on the basis of religion was once again made between sufferings and losses in the course of the First World War.

Pope Francis' partiality towards historical events, as well as his alienation of the Other, correspond neither with his efforts towards settlement of peace and friendship among different groups as he constantly emphasizes, nor with the Press Release issued on 3 February 2016 by the Press Office of the Holy See as regard to the events of 1915 which highlights our proposal of a Joint Historical Commission and condemns terrorism with reference to the memory of Taha Carım, the late Turkish Ambassador to Holy See who was martyred in 1977 by ASALA-affiliated terrorism.

Thus, we regrettably note that Pope Francis’s trip to Armenia did not make any contribution to peace and stability in Southern Caucasus, especially in this critical period which has been demonstrated also by the clashes last April along the line of contact in Nagorno-Karabakh and at some sections of the Azerbaijani-Armenian border.

In fact, it is expected from those who occupy a sublime position such as the Pontificate to leave a legacy of amity and peace, as well as to take a conciliatory attitude, respectful of law.