Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan sent a letter Tuesday to the Armenian Patriarchate of Istanbul, expressing condolences to the Armenian people over the tragic events of 1915.
"You have gathered today under the roof of the Armenian Patriarchate of Istanbul to remember the Ottoman Armenians who lost their lives during the fierce and harsh conditions of the First World War. Once again, I remember with respect the Ottoman Armenians who lost their lives, and offer my sincere condolences to their children and descendants," the statement, published on Erdogan's official website says.
The statement further notes that throughout history, the Turks have always been a nation that shared in sufferings, never discriminating between people or putting them against each other.
"To be aware of the sufferings of our Armenian citizens in history and to share these pains is a requirement of the conscientious and moral posture of the Turkish Nation," the statement says.
The Turkish leader further expressed hope that Armenian citizens who live in Turkey would avoid helping those who resort to creating hatred, grudge, and hostility by distorting our common history.
Armenian-Turkish relations are negatively influenced by what is recognized as the genocide of Armenians by Armenia and dozens of other countries. Around 1.2 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 mass murder against Armenians, claiming that the victims of tragedy were both Turks and Armenians.