President Recep Tayyip Erdogan meets with Armenian Patriarch Sahak Maşalyan (left, near the flag of Turkey) in Istanbul, Turkey, October 22, 2020.
Reverend Sahak Maşalyan,
Armenian Patriarch of Turkey,
Distinguished members of the Armenian community,
My treasured citizens,
I salute you with my heartfelt feelings and affection.
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.
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.
What holds us together is neither interests nor calculations, but our sincere bond to the same country, same values and the same high ideals.
It is a source of pride for all of us to be equal, free and dignified citizens of the Republic of Turkey.
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.
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.
No one has benefited from the discussion 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.
As you know, we have always acted sincerely on this issue and endeavored to resolve the issue in its own course.
We, on different occasions, have always stated that we stand ready to enhance our relations with Armenia on the basis of good neighborhood and mutual respect.
We renewed this call of ours loudly once again after the Karabakh crisis had been resolved.
I reiterate the same call.
It is in our hands to share joys and pains and build the future by drawing right lessons from history.
Turkey will continue to fulfill the responsibilities that fall to itself in this regard.
I thank our Armenian citizens, who are an inseparable part of our nation, for their sincere support to this struggle our country has been putting up.
With these thoughts in my mind, I once again remember with respect the Ottoman Armenians whom we lost during the First World War, share the grief of their relatives and offer my regards and affection to you all.