Fifty three Nobel prize winners are urging Armenia and Turkey to normalize relations and improve their human rights situations.

The letter was released Monday by the Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity. Wiesel, who established the foundation, is a famed Holocaust survivor and Nobel Peace Prize winner.

The Nobel laureates call on Armenia and Turkey to open their common border and increase diplomatic contacts, saying this would lead to deeper understanding between their peoples.

The laureates also ask Armenia to change what they call its authoritarian policies and allow free and fair elections. They want Turkey to end racial and ethnic discrimination and scrap a law that criminalizes insulting Turkish identity.

Turkey has long denied responsibility for genocide in the deaths of more than one million Armenians during and after World War I.

Turkey says the people died during violence surrounding the collapse of the Ottoman Empire.