Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Saturday said Turkey stands ready to enhance relations with Armenia “on the basis of good neighborhood and mutual respect.”
“I remember with respect the Ottoman Armenians, who lost their lives under the harsh conditions of the First World War, and offer my condolences to their grandchildren,” Erdogan said in a statement to Armenian Patriarch Sahak Maşalyan.
“We all are the members of the family of humanity regardless of our ethnic origin, religion, language or color. We have been living together in peace on these lands for centuries and feeling at peace under the shadow of our red crescent-star flag,” the Turkish President said.
“Our shared culture has flourished and developed with the Armenian community’s contributions to architecture, music and arts as well as with the knowledge and great efforts of many doctors, engineers, jurists, businesspeople and professional experts raised by the Armenian community,” he added.
“We cannot allow the culture of coexistence of Turks and Armenians, which has been continuing for ages and which set an example to the humanity, to be forgotten,” he continued.
Erdogan stressed that “no one has benefited from the discussions which in fact must be made by historians but have been politicized by third parties and turned into a tool of intervention against our country.”
“I believe that building our identity solely upon the pains left by the past to our souls is also a grave injustice to new generations. It is time for us to lay bare that we as Turks and Armenians have reached the maturity of overcoming all obstacles together,” he added.
Erdogan said he thanks Armenian citizens, “who are an inseparable part of our nation, for their sincere support to this struggle our country has been putting up.”