MESSAGE SENT BY H.E. MR. RECEP TAYYİP ERDOĞAN, PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF TURKEY, TO THE RELIGIOUS CEREMONY HELD IN THE ARMENIAN PATRIARCHATE OF İSTANBUL ON 24 APRIL 2017
Reverend Patriarch Aram Ateşyan, General Vicar of the Armenian Patriarch of Turkey,
My distinguished Armenian citizens,
I salute you with love and respect.
This year, I once again pay our respects to the Ottoman Armenians who lost their lives under the harsh conditions of the First World War and convey my condolences to their descendants.
Turks and Armenians, as two ancient nations of this region, have shared a common history and culture in this geography, where they lived side by side for a thousand years.
The Armenian community has made great contributions to the Ottoman Empire, as well as to our Republic, which is nearing its centennial, through the valuable generations it has raised.
Armenians, as equal and free citizens, have important roles in the social, political and commercial life of our country today, as they did in the past.
It is our common objective for these two peoples, who have shared the grief and happiness of centuries, to heal the wounds of the past and strengthen people to people ties.
We have taken many steps in this direction in the past 14 years and launched historic reforms.
We are determined to advance our efforts and preserve the memory of the Ottoman Armenians and the Armenian cultural heritage in the future.
On this occasion, I would like to emphasize that the peace, security and happiness of our Armenian community are of special importance to us.
We have no tolerance for the alienation and exclusion of our Armenian citizens and for a single Armenian citizen to feel second-class.
I convey my hope for the speedy conclusion of the election of the Armenian Patriarch of Turkey and wish you success in this endeavour.
With these thoughts, I once again pay tribute to the memories of the Ottoman Armenians who lost their lives in the beginning of the 20th century.
May millions of Ottoman citizens deceased under the difficult conditions of the First World War rest in peace.
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