In a message to Armenian Orthodox Patriarch Sahak Mashalyan, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan addressed the Armenian community who gathered at the Istanbul Armenian Patriarchate to commemorate Ottoman Armenians who lost their lives in the difficult conditions of World War I, Trend reports citing Daily Sabah.
"I respectfully commemorate the deceased Ottoman Armenians once again, and convey my sincere condolences to their surviving relatives. I wish God's mercy upon all Ottoman citizens who passed away forever in the difficult conditions of the First World War," he said.
Erdogan noted that the final years of the Ottoman Empire during World War I were a very painful period for millions of Ottoman citizens.
It is a duty of humanity to understand and share these common pains without any religious, ethnic or cultural discrimination, he said.
"It is important for us, who have shared joy and worry for centuries, to bind together the wounds of the past and strengthen our human bonds. With this understanding, I believe that we should build the future together, inspired by our deep-rooted unity of up to a thousand years, instead of magnifying the pain," Erdogan said.
The president also touched upon the recent normalization period between Turkey and Armenia and said: "I know that the normalization process is sincerely supported by our citizens of Armenian origin, who favor close cooperation between the two neighboring countries, and I attach great importance to this."
"I expect you to make a strong contribution to the evaluation of this historical opportunity that has emerged in the name of permanent peace and stability in our region after many years.
"I want you to make sure that we will make every effort to ensure that our Armenian citizens, who have left indelible traces in our cultural and human lives throughout our centuries-long partnership on this land, lead their lives in peace, security and safety," he stated.