Pope Francis Armenian Genocide Turkey
Pope Francis has described the mass killing of Armenians under Ottoman rule as a 'genocide'Reuters

The Vatican has denied its official website was attacked by Turkish hackers angry at Pope Francis's use of the word "genocide" to describe the mass killing of Armenians under Ottoman rule a century ago.

A self-styled Turkish hacker boasted on Twitter about targeting the Holy See internet portal earlier this week, saying the action was in direct retaliation to the Pontiff's remark.

User @THTHerakles claimed that, as a consequence of the attack by a hacking collective, Vatican.va was down for some time between Monday night and Tuesday morning (13-14 April).

The hacker published a screenshot listing access failures as evidence and vowed the disruption would continue if Pope Francis did not issue an official apology.

The news was given ample coverage in Turkey, due to the ongoing diplomatic spat between Ankara and the Holy See, also making its way to the Washington Post and The Hill.

However, the Vatican told IBTimes UK that neither Vatican.va nor the Vatican Radio's website (Radiovaticana.va) experienced any trouble.

"We have continued working regularly without any relevant issue," said father Ciro Benedettini, the deputy head of the Vatican's press office. "Our technicians did not notice any problem with the websites".

The "attack" came as Pope Francis infuriated Turkish authorities over the weekend, as he told a mass in Saint Peter's Basilica that humanity has experienced "three massive and unprecedented tragedies" in the past century.

"The first, which is widely considered 'the first genocide of the 20th Century', struck your own Armenian people," he said, addressing Armenian representatives who were attending the ceremony.

The mass marked the 100th anniversary of the massacre of estimated 1.5 million Armenian Christians by Ottoman forces between 1905-07.

Turkey strongly denies the deaths constituted genocide, claiming that the death toll has been inflated, ascribing the killing to fighting and starvation during War World I. Ankara has recalled its envoy to the Vatican, accusing Pope Francis of spreading hatred.