ISTANBUL — Armenia has called Turkish President Regep Tayyip Erdogan’s April 24th address a failed expression of denialism, and an obvious attempt to lay the responsibility for the genocide on Armenians.
Armenian deputy Foreign Minister Shavarsh Kocharyan told a press conference in Yerevan today that, “Turkey continues exerting efforts to put on an equal plane the war victims and those who became victims to the genocide that was planned and executed at state level.”
In a statement that was read out by the head of the Armenian church in Turkey at an Istanbul ceremony to remember those who died in eastern Anatolia in the early years of World War I, Erdogan paid tribute to those gathering to mark the “tragic conditions” of the war:
“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,” 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.”
Erdogan said the near 1,000-year-old “culture of cohabitation between Turks and Armenians” would always be remembered.
“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,” he added in the statement, read by Patriarch Aram Atesyan.
“With this in mind, I once again commemorate the Ottoman Armenians who passed away and extend my condolences to their children and grandchildren.”
Erdogan 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.
The Armenian language transcript of Erdogan’s statement