World

Turkey's Erdogan 'condemns' pope over Armenian genocide comment

  • April 12, 2015: Pope Francis, center, flanked by the head of Armenia's Orthodox Church Karekin II, right, and Catholicos Aram I, left, celebrates an Armenian-Rite Mass in St. Peter's Basilica, at the Vatican.

    April 12, 2015: Pope Francis, center, flanked by the head of Armenia's Orthodox Church Karekin II, right, and Catholicos Aram I, left, celebrates an Armenian-Rite Mass in St. Peter's Basilica, at the Vatican.  (The Associated Press)

  • April 12, 2015: Pope Francis, right, is greeted by Catholicos Aram I, left, during an Armenian-Rite Mass in St. Peter's Basilica, at the Vatican.

    April 12, 2015: Pope Francis, right, is greeted by Catholicos Aram I, left, during an Armenian-Rite Mass in St. Peter's Basilica, at the Vatican.  (The Associated Press)

  • April 12, 2015: Pope Francis, right, is greeted by Catholicos Aram I, second left, and the head of Armenia's Orthodox Church Karekin II, left, during an Armenian-Rite Mass in St. Peter's Basilica, at the Vatican.

    April 12, 2015: Pope Francis, right, is greeted by Catholicos Aram I, second left, and the head of Armenia's Orthodox Church Karekin II, left, during an Armenian-Rite Mass in St. Peter's Basilica, at the Vatican.  (The Associated Press)

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says he is "condemning" Pope Francis for describing the slaughter of an estimated 1.5 million Armenians by Ottoman Turks as "the first genocide of the 20th century" and for urging the international community to recognize it as such.

Turkey denies the killings that began 100 years ago were genocide and contends those who died were victims of civil war and unrest. Turkey also insists the death toll has been inflated.

It responded to the pope's words Sunday by recalling its ambassador to the Vatican and accusing Francis of spreading hatred and "unfounded claims."

On Tuesday, Erdogan said he was "condemning and warning" Francis against making "such a mistake again."

He renewed a call for a joint study by historians to determine what unfolded.