ANKARA — Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan sent a message on April 24 to the Patriarch of the Armenians of Turkey, Sahak Mashalyan:
I salute you with my heartfelt feelings and affection.
Today, you have gathered at Istanbul Armenian Patriarchate to commemorate the Ottoman Armenians who lost their lives under the harsh conditions of the First World War.
I, once again, remember with respect the late Ottoman Armenians, and offer my sincere condolences to their relatives.
I wish Allah’s mercy upon all the Ottoman citizens who passed away under the harsh conditions of the First World War. The last years of the Ottoman Empire, which coincided with the First World War, were a very painful period for millions of Ottomans.
It is a humanitarian duty to comprehend and share these pains without any religious, ethnic, or cultural discrimination. It is important for us, who have for centuries shared each other’s joy and sorrow, to heal the wounds of the past and further strengthen social ties.
I, with this understanding, believe that instead of increasing the pains, we should build the future together by drawing inspiration from our deep-rooted unity which dates back nearly a thousand years.
As a matter of fact, we have launched a positive process with our neighbor Armenia to that end.
I know and attach great importance to the fact that the normalization process is being sincerely supported by our citizens of Armenian origin, who favor close cooperation between the two neighborly countries, as well.
I expect you to make strong contribution to taking advantage of this historic opportunity arisen after so many years in the name of lasting peace and stability in our region.
I want you to rest assured that we will make every effort in order for our Armenian citizens, who have left indelible marks on our cultural and social lives throughout our co-existence extending to centuries on these lands, to maintain their lives in peace, trust and security.
With these feelings and thoughts, I, once again, remember with respect the Ottoman Armenians whom we lost during the First World War, and offer my regards and greetings to all my citizens participating in the commemoration ceremony.