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Turkish leader expresses condolences to descendants of Armenians killed in 1915

Recep Tayyip Erdogan sent a letter to General Vicar of the Armenian Patriarchate of Istanbul Archbishop, where he said the Ottoman Armenians "were killed in harsh conditions during the 1st World War"

ANKARA, April 24. /TASS/. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has sent a letter to General Vicar of the Armenian Patriarchate of Istanbul Archbishop Aram Ateshyan, in which he expressed his condolences to the descendants of Armenians killed during 1915 in the Ottoman Empire.

"I honor the memory of the Ottoman Armenians who were killed in harsh conditions during the First World War. I express my sincere condolences to their descendants," Erdogan said in his message. "I wish that Allah would have mercy on the people killed due to epidemics, migration, the decline in state authority, which led to clashes led by gangs and armed groups."

"The Turkish government attaches particular importance to the security and prosperity of the Armenian community, which has made a valuable contribution to the country’s development in the period of the Ottoman Empire and after the establishment of the Republic of Turkey. <…> We have had common hardships and joys in the course of history, but the common goal for us is to heal the wounds of the past to strengthen our relations. <…> With that in mind, I sincerely wish that you would prevent certain groups from spreading hate and warping our common history," the Turkish leader stressed.

The Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day is marked annually in Armenia on April 24. On that day in 1915, deportations of Armenian intelligentsia began from Constantinople (Ottoman Empire). The term "Armenian Genocide" is used to describe the mass deportation and killings of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire during the First World War (1914-1918).

Turkey does not accept the term "genocide" when describing the events of 1915, claiming that during that time, the country was torn by fratricidal war, with all sides of the conflict bearing significant losses. Ankara has opened the archives of the Ottoman Empire, inviting international experts to study them in order to make an objective judgement of the events.