President Erdoğan commemorates 1915 victims

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, on Monday, released a statement expressing condolences to the descendants of Ottoman Armenians, who perished during the events of 1915...

Erdogan's message was read during a religious ceremony at the Armenian Patriarchate in istanbul.

"This year, I once again pay our respects to the Ottoman Armenians who lost their lives under the harsh conditions of the First World War and convey my condolences to their descendants," the President said.

Turkey dismisses allegations of genocide but acknowledges there were casualties on both sides during the events in World War I.

Erdoğan said Turks and Armenians shared a common history and culture "as two ancient nations of this region".

"It is our common objective for these two peoples, who have shared the grief and happiness of centuries, to heal the wounds of the past and strengthen people-to-people ties," he said.

Noting the "many steps" taken in this direction over the past 14 years, and "historic reforms" underway, Erdoğan said Turkey was determined to advance efforts and preserve the memory of Ottoman Armenians and Armenian cultural heritage into the future.

In Turkey's view, the deaths of Armenians in 1915 in Eastern Anatolia occurred after some sided with invading Russians and revolted against Ottoman forces. A subsequent relocation of armenians resulted in numerous casualties.

Turkey describes the 1915 events as a tragedy for both sides.

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