Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan remarked on Tuesday that Turkey has an “ethical responsibility to share the historical pain” of the country’s Armenian citizens but again refused to refer to the tragedy as a genocide as he observed the anniversary of the killings.
“It is Turkey’s conscientious and ethical responsibility to share the historical pain of our Armenian citizens,” said a statement signed by Erdoğan and read at the Istanbul Armenian Church on the 103rd anniversary of the mass murders. “We will continue to share your pain and try to resolve your problems in the future,” the statement added. It was reportedly read in Armenian and Turkish.
Erdogan has issued a statement on the Armenian genocide every year on April 24 since 2014.
The Hurriyet Daily noted, “In contrast with the stance of Armenia, its diaspora and numerous other countries, Ankara does not recognize the 1915 killings as ‘genocide,’ emphasizing that there were casualties ‘on both sides.'”
Turkey has repeatedly insisted that the murders of Armenians at the hands of the Ottoman Empire were merely a casualty of World War I and not targeted specifically at the ethnic population.
In his statement, Erdoğan reportedly also expressed “condolences to the Turkish nation over loss of lives of millions of Ottoman citizens due to wars, migrations, conflicts and diseases during the same period.”
Argentina, Belgium, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Lebanon, Lithuania, Russia, and Uruguay are among nearly 30 countries that formally recognized the Armenian genocide.
While the number of Armenians who perished during the genocide remains under debate, Armenians say 1.5 million died, while Turkey suggests 300,000 perished.