Erdogan: We need to build a common future of Turks and Armenians

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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Sunday expressed his belief in the need to build a common future between Turks and Armenians instead of exaggerating the pain.

The Communications Department of the Turkish Presidency stated that Erdogan sent a telegram to the Armenian Patriarch of Turkey, Yitzhak Mashalian.

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In the introduction to his telegram, Erdogan sent his greetings to the members of the Armenian community gathered today (Sunday) under the roof of the Armenian Patriarchate in Istanbul to remember the Ottoman Armenians who lost their lives in the harsh conditions imposed by the First World War (1914-1918).

The Turkish President respectfully recalled the deceased Ottoman Armenians during that period, and conveyed his sincere condolences to their surviving relatives.

Erdogan also had mercy on all the citizens of the Ottoman Empire who departed to the Eternal House in the difficult circumstances imposed by the First World War.

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He explained that the last years of the Ottoman Empire (1299-1922), which coincided with the First World War, were a painful period for millions of the people of the Ottoman Empire.

He pointed out that it is the humanitarian duty to understand and share these common pains without any religious, ethnic or cultural discrimination.

He stressed the importance of healing the wounds of the past and strengthening human bonds between Turks and Armenians, partners in joys and sorrows for centuries.

“With this realization, I believe we must build the future together, drawing inspiration from our deeply rooted 1,000-year-old unity rather than amplifying the pain,” he added.

He noted that Turkey and Armenia have launched a positive path in this direction, referring to Erdogan’s launch of talks to normalize relations.

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“I know that the normalization process has the sincere support of our citizens of Armenian origin, who prefer close cooperation between the two neighboring countries, and I attach great importance to this,” he said.

Erdogan expressed his aspiration for the Armenian citizens of Turkey to make a strong contribution to seizing this historic opportunity that arose in the name of lasting peace and stability in the region after so many years.

On December 15, 2021, Turkey appointed its former ambassador to Washington, Serdar Kılıç, while Armenia appointed Deputy Speaker of Parliament Rubin Rubinyan, as special representatives for talks to normalize relations.

Erdogan pointed out that the Armenians of Turkey have left indelible traces in cultural and human life through the partnership with their Turkish citizens in Turkey for centuries.

“I want you to be sure that we will do everything we can to ensure that our Armenian citizens live in peace, security and safety,” he added.

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Armenia and Armenian lobbies around the world in general demand that Turkey recognize what happened during the 1915 deportation as “ethnic genocide”, and thus pay compensation.

According to the 1948 Convention adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, the term “genocide” (ethnic) means the total or partial destruction of a national, ethnic, racial or religious group.

Turkey stresses that the events of 1915 cannot be called “ethnic genocide”, but rather describes it as a “tragedy” for both parties.

It calls for dealing with the file away from political conflicts and resolving the issue through the “just memory” perspective, which in short means abandoning the unilateral view of history and understanding what the other experienced and mutual respect for the past memory of each party.

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Turkey also proposes to conduct research on the events of 1915 in the archives of other countries in addition to the Turkish and Armenian archives, and to establish a joint historical committee that includes Turkish and Armenian historians and international experts.