ANKARA

Turkiye on Thursday commemorated the millions of people who lost their lives in the Nazi Holocaust of World War II.

“On the occasion of the International Holocaust Remembrance Day, we commemorate with respect millions of Jews, Roma people, disabled persons as well as targeted minorities and groups who were systematically murdered by the Nazi regime and its collaborators,” said a Turkish Foreign Ministry statement.

The ministry said that throughout history, the Ottoman Empire and Turkiye have always been a “safe haven” where millions of victims, including Jews, fled war and persecution in their homelands across the world and took refuge.

Many Jews fleeing one of the worst atrocities of the 20th century during World War II were welcomed in Turkiye with open arms, said the statement

“A considerable number of Jews were saved from being sent to concentration camps thanks to the determination of the Turkish Government and the remarkable efforts of Turkish diplomats,” according to the ministry.

The ministry also remembered with respect the Turkish diplomats who extended a helping hand to those victims.

This year, Holocaust victims will be commemorated in an online ceremony due to surging coronavirus cases, it added.

“Turkiye maintains its uncompromising stance against anti-Semitism, xenophobia, racism, anti-Islam, and all forms of intolerance, and contributes to international cooperation in the fight against hate-based speech and crimes,” said the ministry.

The UN General Assembly designated Jan. 27 – the date the notorious Auschwitz concentration camp was liberated by the Soviet army – as International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

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