Dispute over genocide of Armenians
The European Parliament will vote today, Wednesday, on a resolution demanding that Ankara acknowledge that the massacre of the Armenians was genocide. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has rejected the pope's comments to this effect as "nonsense". Turkey is once again demonstrating that it is not ready for EU membership, some commentators write. Others criticise the genocide accusation as too one-sided.
Another argument against Turkey's EU accession
Ankara's unwillingness to recognise the massacre of the Armenians as genocide provides a good opportunity to rule out EU membership for Turkey, the liberal-conservative daily Corriere della Sera believes: "The time has come to admit that Turkey cannot joint the European community and to say loud and clear that the reasons are entirely secular and political in nature. Turkey has long cast itself as a regional power. As such it is unwilling to adapt its ambitions for power to the limits specified by the interests of the European community. Consequently it cannot be compared with any other EU member state. Good relations are indispensable with Turkey on many levels, but they must take a completely different form than EU membership. Once that is achieved, everything can be much simpler and clearer, including criticism of the genocide of the Armenians."
Christians were not the only victims
The pope's comment on the genocide of the Armenians overlooks the fact that Muslims were also victims of massacres by Russians at the end of the Ottoman Empire, writes the liberal English-language Hürriyet Daily News: "All of these horrors happened as this part of the world went through a dark era marked by a painfully crumbling empire and vicious struggles over dominance of its pieces. We Muslims suffered terribly, and also made others, such as Armenians, suffer terribly. What makes so many Turks react so adversely to statements on 'Armenian Genocide' is really this mutually painful history. Their perception is that Armenians are singled out as its only victims. To overcome this conundrum, we in Turkey must work to raise awareness about the tragedy of Ottoman Armenians. In return, the world can help us by remembering the tragedy of Ottoman Muslims as well."
Pope Francis has given Armenians a voice
With his statements on such a politically sensitive issue Francis has given the Armenians' suffering the attention it deserves, writes the left-liberal daily El País. The paper praises the way the pope is conducting his papacy, noting that within the space of a few months he has turned the Vatican into "an influential player in international politics, the likes of which we haven't seen since the start of John Paul II's papacy. For the first time in years the pope once more has a voice that is heard by global decision makers. ... The pope is among the most respected international politicians and he is using this clout to weigh in on relevant issues. The Armenian genocide is a good example. If it hadn't been for his appeal on Sunday, the 100th anniversary of one of the darkest episodes in the 20th century wouldn't have drawn so much attention. In our world full of noise we need influential voices which, like this one, are worth listening to."