TURKEY’S HEAD OF RELIGIOUS AUTHORITY, MEHMET GORMEZ, CALLS POPE ‘IMMORAL’ FOR ARMENIA COMMENTS
Daily Sabah, Turkey
April 20 2015
Turkey’s Directorate of Religious Affairs, Mehmet Gormez, on Monday
described comments by Pope Francis that the 1915 mass killing of
Armenians was genocide as immoral and said the Vatican should look
to its own history before levelling accusations of casting stones.
Francis this month became the first head of the Roman Catholic church
to publicly call the killing of as many as 1.5 million Armenians
“genocide”, prompting a row with Turkey, which summoned the Vatican’s
envoy and recalled its own.
“The Vatican will come out as the biggest loser if we are all giving
account for past sufferings and pain caused,” Mehmet Gormez told
Reuters in an interview.
“Is the current situation of millions of Syrian refugees much less
cause for concern to the Vatican than what happened during the Armenian
deportation?” he said, referring to refugees from Syria’s civil war
being sheltered in Turkey.
“I find the Pope’s statement immoral, and can’t reconcile it with
basic Christian values.”
Gormez said Europe’s weak economy and its difficulties integrating
immigrants were the root causes of rising Islamophobia on the
“Islamophobia should be considered a crime against humanity, just
like anti-Semitism,” he said.
Gormez also said violence carried out by groups such as the
self-proclaimed Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS), Boko Haram,
Al Shabaab and al Qaeda was a consequence of ignorance and poverty,
as well as of the exploitation of the Middle East and Africa for
He called on Islamic scholars and clerics to be self-critical about
how they were raising new generations.
“Islam was a religion creating civilisation throughout history. When
educating Muslim children, clerics should reflect on the comparison
between that and today’s Koranic interpretations that incite violence,”