ISTANBUL — The Republic of Turkey is a continuation of the Ottoman Empire, Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on February 10, Hurriyet daily news reports.

“The Republic of Turkey, just like our previous states that are a continuation of one another, is also a continuation of the Ottomans,” Erdogan said in remarks he made during a commemoration ceremony to mark the centenary of the death of Ottoman Sultan Abdulhamid II at the Yildiz Palace in Istanbul.

“Of course, the borders have changed. Forms of government have changed… But the essence is the same, soul is the same, even many institutions are the same.”

Erdogan added this is why Sultan Abdulhamid is one of the “most important, most visionary and most strategic minded” individual that made his mark in recent 150 years.

Erdogan also criticized those with “bigoted” viewpoints about Sultan Abdulhamid. “Some people insistently try to start this country’s history from 1923. Some unrelentingly try to break us from our roots and ancient values,” he added.

Sultan Abdulhamid II and was the 34th sultan of the Ottoman Empire. He was called the Red Sultan for the atrocities that were committed during his rule specially targeting the Armenians of the Ottoman Empire.

He gave Hamidiye irregulars and Kurdish gangs free rein to attack Armenians, confiscating stores of grain, foodstuffs, and driving off livestock, killing the populations, kidnapping and raping the women. As a result of such violence, 300,000 Armenians were killed in what became known as the Hamidian massacres.

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