Erdoğan condoles Turkey’s Armenian community for ‘deaths during WW1’ 

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on April 24 expressed his condolences to the Armenian community of Turkey on Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day. Erdoğan commemorated “the unfortunate deaths during WW1,” as Turkey does not officially recognize the genocide.

Duvar English

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on April 24 sent a condolence message to the Armenian community and the Armenian Patriarchate of Turkey on the anniversary of the Armenian Genocide.

Erdoğan wished his condolences to the “Armenian citizens of the Ottoman Empire, who died in the difficult First World War conditions.”

Despite the Turkish government's refusal to recognize the events as genocide, Erdoğan has been issuing a similar message since 2012. 

The message was read in today’s remembrance mass, according to reporting by the bilingual Turkish-Armenian weekly Agos. 

“May all members of the Ottoman community who died or were martyred as a result of internal strife, insurrection, guerilla activity, and terrorism rest in peace,” continued the official statement. 

Erdoğan commented on the current status of Turkey’s Armenian citizens. 

“We have not, and will not allow even a single one of Armenian citizens to be ostracized and feel secondary in their country.”

Continuing the pervading peaceful climate was possible through combined efforts, noted Erdoğan. 

The President added that it was important to empathize with all events that have left a mark on Turkey’s national memory to prevent hostility from taking root. 

Erdoğan continued, “We must handle historical events with the guidance of conscience and science, without allowing radical rhetorics or hate speech.”

April 24 is regarded as the beginning of the Armenian Genocide of 1915, when Ottoman authorities initiated mass deportations which led to the death of hundreds of Armenian intellectuals, politicians, and writers.

Turkey accepts that many Armenians living in the Ottoman Empire were killed in clashes with Ottoman forces in the First World War, but denies the killings were systematically orchestrated to constitute genocide.

Turkish courts have nevertheless indicted politicians and activists who made statements on the genocide for “insulting Turkishness,” and banned commemorative events of civil society organizations.