President Serzh Sarkisian has sent a letter of condolences to his Turkish counterpart Abdullah Gul in connection with an explosion at a coal mine in western Turkey that left at least 282 workers dead and many others injured.
“The President of Armenia extended his sincere sympathy to President Gul and the people of Turkey, expresseing words of consolation to the relatives of the victims and wishing a speedy recovery to those injured,” Sarkisian’s press office said in a statement released on Wednesday.
The presidents of the two neighboring states, which have no diplomatic relations, have occasionally sent each other messages even after the collapse of the Turkish-Armenian normalization process initiated by them in 2008.
In particular, Gul congratulated Sarkisian on winning a second term in office in Armenia’s last presidential election held in February 2013. For his part, Sarkisian congratulated Gul in October on Turkey’s main national holiday.
The holiday is dedicated to the formal establishment of the modern-day Turkish Republic in 1923. Turkish leader Mustafa Kemal declared his country a republic three years after defeating a short-lived independent Armenian republic in a war. The latter suffered big territorial losses and was incorporated into the Soviet Union as a result.