Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has highlighted the “shared pain” endured during the 1915 events in a historic statement April 23 on the Armenian issue, expressing condolences on behalf of the Turkish state to the grandchildren of Armenians who lost their lives “in the context of the early twentieth century.”
In a first-of-its-kind statement released by the Prime Minister’s Office, Erdoğan said April 24 carries “particular significance for our Armenian citizens and for all Armenians around the world.”
The statement has been issued in eight languages other than Turkish, including Eastern and Western Armenian.
Erdoğan called for a just, humane and conscientious standing to commemorate all pains experienced in that era, arguing that all ethnicities in the late years of the Ottoman Empire lived a hard time full of pains.
“The incidents of the First World War are our shared pain. To evaluate this painful period of history through a perspective of just memory is a humane and scholarly responsibility.”
Erdoğan’s statement also stressed the importance of freedom of expression and respect of plurality regarding history.
“In Turkey, expressing different opinions and thoughts freely on the events of 1915 is the requirement of a pluralistic perspective as well as of a culture of democracy and modernity,” the statement said.
“It is with this hope and belief that we wish that the Armenians who lost their lives in the context of the early twentieth century rest in peace, and we convey our condolences to their grandchildren,” the Hurriyet Daily News reports.
The source says Armenians describe the events of 1915 as “genocide” and demand its recognition by Ankara. Turkey claims the killings should be understood in the context of World War I.
The statement has been issued in eight languages, including Eastern and Western Armenian.