Al-Arabiya, UAE
April 24 2014

Erdogan offers condolences over mass WWI killings of Armenians

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Wednesday offered
condolences to the descendants of the victims of the mass killing of
Armenians by Ottoman troops during World War I.

Erdogan's statement, on the eve of the 99th anniversary of the start
of mass deportations of Armenians in 1915, was the first such overt
comment by a Turkish leader over the killings, considered by many as
the first genocide of the 20th century.

"The incidents of the First World War are our shared pain," said
Erdogan in a statement.

"It is our hope and belief that the peoples of an ancient and unique
geography, who share similar customs and manners will be able to talk
to each other about the past with maturity and to remember together
their losses in a decent manner.

"And it is with this hope and belief that we wish that the Armenians
who lost their lives in the context of the early 20th century rest in
peace, and we convey our condolences to their grandchildren," he

Armenia has been trying to get Turkey to recognize the killings of up
to 1.5 million people under the Ottoman empire as genocide.

But Turkey says 500,000 died of fighting and starvation during World
War I and categorically rejects the term genocide.