Pope Francis attacks 'genocide' of the Armenians
Pope Francis denounced the "genocide" of Armenians by Ottoman-era Turks a century ago as he arrived in Armenia yesterday to mark the centenary of the attacks.
In the run-up to the three-day visit, the Vatican had backed off using the term 'genocide', mindful of Turkish opposition to the political and financial implications of the word, given Armenian claims for reparations.
But Francis added the word in at the last minute in a speech made at the presidential palace to President Serzh Sargsyan, Armenian political and religious leaders and the diplomatic corps.
"Sadly that tragedy, that genocide, was the first of the deplorable series of catastrophes of the past century, made possible by twisted racial, ideological or religious aims that darkened the minds of the tormentors to the point of planning the annihilation of entire peoples," he said.
Members of the audience gave the pontiff's a standing ovation after he made the speech.