I am willing to take a guess that this flight of fancy was prompted by Pope Francis' homily last week on the occasion of the Centenary of the Armenian Genocide. The Turkish government responded with some less than helpful comments. I find it somewhat ironical that Francis' use of the word "genocide" was from a reference made by Pope St John Paul II in 2001. (See below)
Ihsan Aktas has written an appalling piece of non-historical propaganda. He places all the wrongs of western colonialism, and I agree, there are many, at the feet of the papacy. How bizarre. Using the time-tested method of "cherry picking" the pieces of historical data that best suit the predetermined conclusion, Mr Aktas attempts to make a judgement in a few hundred words on issues that need far greater depth and attention. He appears woefully ignorant not only of the role of the pope within the church, but of the entire complex history of Pius XII and the Holocaust. Enough said.
In Australia an Assyrian Memorial in the western Sydney suburb of Bonnyrigg was vandalised with anti-Assyrian, anti-Armenian and antisemitic graffiti. Efforts by some local Turkish community groups to prevent the memorial's construction in 2010 were frustrated because of considerable community and government support for the memorial.
Turkey has nothing to lose by acknowledging the history of the Armenian genocide. Denial and denialism only fuels more tension, hurt and nurtures hatreds. Turkey has everything to gain by acknowledging the past; it will help heal old wounds and promote openness and understanding and create a way forward that is honest and built on truth. 2015 is an opportunity not to be missed; but the language from Istanbul suggests the old pattern of denial remains firmly entrenched.
And in today's Sydney Morning Herald there is an article on the Turkish Prime Minister, Ahmet Davutoglu, saying that the European Community's call for Turkey to acknowledge the atrocities against the Armenians as genocide is tantamount to an act of racism. Again the Pope's comments figured in the article.
So what did Francis say?
Dear brothers and sisters.