"Once again, I remember with respect the Ottoman Armenians who lost their lives, and offer my sincere condolences to their children and descendants. On this occasion, I also pray for God’s grace and mercy on millions of Ottoman citizens we lost due to contagious diseases, migration, war and clashes during the same period," Erdogan said in a message to the religious ceremony held in the Armenian Patriarchate, obtained by Sputnik.
"Keeping that heritage as a nation, we strive today to strengthen the brotherhood, empathy, peace and serenity… God willing, we will continue to share your sufferings and bring solutions to your troubles and problems in the days ahead," Erdogan said.
The leader noted that Ankara would not tolerate any marginalization or discrimination of any Turkish citizens based on faith, religion or outlook.
"I feel confident that our Armenian citizens will continue to contribute increasingly to our cultural, social, political and commercial life. As hitherto, I kindly request you to avoid helping those who resort to create hatred, grudge and hostility by distorting our common history. With these thoughts in my mind, I remember with respect, once again, the Ottoman Armenians whom we lost during the First World War," Erdogan added.
According to different estimates, over 1 million Armenians were killed or starved to death by the Ottoman Empire during and after World War I. Turkey has repeatedly denied accusations of committing the mass murder of Armenians, claiming that the victims of the tragedy were both Turks and Armenians.