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Erdogan offers 'condolences' during Armenian genocide events

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan sent a message of support to an Armenian genocide commemoration in Istanbul in a radical departure from previous government policy.
Human rights activists hold portraits of victims during a demonstration to commemorate the 1915 mass killing of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire, at Sultanahmet square in Istanbul, Turkey April 24, 2017. REUTERS/Murad Sezer - RTS13OEL
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“I am firmly convinced that this is the greatest crime of the ages.” These were the words that Henry Morgenthau, American ambassador to the court of the Ottoman sultan, used to describe the mass destruction of the empire’s Armenian population in 1915. At least 1 million people, including tens of thousands of Syrian Orthodox and Christians as well as Yazidis, fell victim to the genocide, which is commemorated every April 24 by survivors across the globe.

Since 2010, after decades of frenzied denial, the tragedy has been publicly commemorated in Turkey as well. Today in Istanbul, where the bulk of Turkey’s shrunken Armenian population, numbering around 60,000, resides, small crowds gathered to honor the dead at organized events. They carried black banners reading, “Armenian Genocide: Recognize, Apologize, Compensate.”

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