Turkish “apology” campaigners under investigation

by Emil Sanamyan

Published: Thursday January 15, 2009

Washington - Turkish intellectuals who last month launched an online petition apologizing to Armenians for Turkey's attitude toward the Armenian Genocide are under government investigation, the Anatolia news agency reported on January 9.

The probe underway could result in criminal proceedings against petition organizers on charges of "insulting the Turkish nation." In line with last year's amendments to the criminal code, state prosecutors would need the government's approval to open a criminal case.

The report of the investigation came shortly after President Abdullah Gül appeared to have changed tack on the petition, joining other officials in criticizing it.

In an interview with ATV and Zaman newspaper published on January 2, Mr. Gül suggested that debates caused by the petition could interfere with efforts to normalize relations between Armenia and Turkey. Mr. Gül had been assailed by opponents for initially welcoming the petition, which Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and other Turkish officials had quickly condemned.

As of January 14, the petition at www.ozurdiliyoruz.com (We Are Sorry) had gathered nearly 27,000 names of individual Turks despite apparent hacker attacks.

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