Erdoğan releases statement on 1915 Armenian killings
ISTANBUL – Anadolu AgencyPresident Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has released a statement to mark the annual commemoration of the killing of Armenians in 1915, expressing his condolences to the children and grandchildren of the Ottoman Armenians who passed away during this time.
“I welcome this commemoration which is taking place once again in Turkey, the most meaningful place to share the grief endured by the Ottoman Armenians, as well as to honor their memories,” said Erdoğan in a statement that was read out by the head of the Armenian church in Turkey, Patriarch Aram Atesyan, at a ceremony to remember those who were killed in Eastern Anatolia in the early years of World War I.
“We will never give up working for amity and peace against those who try to politicize history through a bitter rhetoric of hate and enmity and strive to alienate the two neighboring nations, who are bound with their common history and their similar traditions. With this in mind, I once again commemorate the Ottoman Armenians who passed away and extend my condolences to their children and grandchildren,” Erdoğan continued, while paying tribute to those gathering to mark the “tragic conditions” of the war.
Saying that the near 1,000-year-old “culture of cohabitation between Turks and Armenians” would always be remembered, Erdoğan went on to pay tribute to all Ottoman citizens, “regardless of their ethnic or religious origins,” who lost their lives.
“I would like to reiterate that we share this common pain,” he said.
“In the lands of Anatolia, where humanitarian duties are never neglected and happiness and grief are sincerely shared, the sense of conscience and justice are held above all,” Erdoğan also said.
Turkey rejects that the events of 1915 amounted to “genocide,” saying the killings should be understood in the context of World War I.