Zeynep Şafak - Hürriyet / Istanbul, April 22 () - The Holy See will not be represented at the commemoration ceremonies for the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Gallipoli on April 24-25, officials from the Vatican Embassy in Ankara told daily Hürriyet.
Vatican Embassy officials cited “the cardinal’s unwellness” as the reason the Vatican would be absent. The name of the Cardinal President of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace had been on the participant lists for the ceremonies updated by the Turkish Foreign Ministry on April 10.
Bilateral relations between Turkey and the Vatican were strained when Pope Francis defined the 1915 mass killings of Anatolian Armenians as “genocide” during a Sunday mass earlier this month. He prompted a row with Turkey, which summoned the Vatican’s envoy and recalled its own.
An April 15 European Parliament motion calling the mass killings of Anatolian Armenians during World War I a “genocide” followed the pope’s statement.
As of April 17, Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu argued that both the European Parliament’s resolution and the pope’s statement were “a new reflection of racism.”