I Apologize campaign
"I Apologize" ("Özür Diliyorum") is an online campaign launched in December 2008 in Turkey by numerous journalists, politicians, and professors, calling for a collective apology for the Armenian Genocide, which I Apologize calls "the Great Catastrophe that Ottoman Armenians were subjected to in 1915." The campaign was launched by Prof. Ahmet Insel, politician Baskin Oran, Dr. Cengiz Aktar, and journalist Ali Bayramoğlu. The campaign emphasizes regret on behalf of Turkey that Armenian requests for recognition of the 1915 genocide has been actively suppressed within Turkey. The campaign was signed by 5,000 people within the first 24 hours, and had collected over 30,000 signatories by January 2009. The campaign created widespread outrage in Turkish society.
The campaign is conducted online; the message that visitors are invited to sign states:
My conscience does not accept the insensitivity showed to and the denial of the Great Catastrophe that the Ottoman Armenians were subjected to in 1915. I reject this injustice and for my share, I empathize with the feelings and pain of my Armenian brothers. I apologize to them.
The campaigners emphasized that point that the initiative was not politically motivated but rather a personal and individual motivation.
- Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said: "I neither accept nor support this campaign. We did not commit a crime, therefore we do not need to apologise, it will not have any benefit other than stirring up trouble, disturbing our peace and undoing the steps which have been taken." "These Turkish intellectuals must have committed the genocide, since they are the ones who are apologizing."
- Nationalist Action Party (MHP), a far-right opposition party, issued a statement that stated: "There is no single page in the honorable history of the Turkish nation for which we should be embarrassed, and no crime for which we should apologize. No one has the right to smear our ancestors by deviating from history, declaring them guilty, and ask them to apologize."
- Historian Cemalettin Taskiran was quoted as stating: "This is the biggest betrayal that could be shown to our forefathers.... The campaign was set up to hurt the unity of the Turkish nation and to prepare the way for Turkey's eventual recognition of Armenian claims of genocide."
- A group of sixty retired Turkish diplomats described the initiative as "unfair, wrong and unfavorable to national interests."
- Azerbaijani poet and National Assembly (Parliament) deputy Zelimhan Yakup, wrote a poem which was entitled "A Turk doesn't apologize to the enemy" (Turkish: Türk Yağıdan Özür Dilemez).
Turkey's Şişli 2nd Criminal Court Judge Hakki Yalçinkaya ordered that the 'ozurdiliyoruz.com' site be shut down and the signatories punished under Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code which makes it illegal to insult Turkey, the Turkish ethnicity, or Turkish government institutions.
Notable signatories of the campaign include:
- Cem Ozdemir
- Leyla Zana
- Adalet Ağaoğlu
- Fethiye Çetin
- Halil Berktay
- Hasan Cemal
- Murat Belge
- Yavuz Bingöl
- Orhan Kemal Cengiz
- Ufuk Uras
- Selahattin Demirtaş
- Lale Akgün
- Pınar Selek
- Enis Batur
- Filiz Koçali
- "Ozur Diliyoruz Front Page". Ozur DIliyoruz. Retrieved 15 May 2013.
- "Aydınlardan kampanya: Ermenilerden Özür diliyorum". Radikal. 04/12/2008. Retrieved 15 May 2013. Check date values in:
- "Türkei: Erdogan lehnt Entschuldigung bei Armeniern ab". Spiegel (in German). Retrieved 15 May 2013.
- Shahnazarian, Nora (2009). "Breaking the Nation's Taboo" (PDF). Eurasia Policy. Retrieved 15 May 2013.
- Tait, Robert (17 December 2008). "Turkish PM dismisses apology for alleged Armenian genocide". Guardian. Retrieved 15 May 2013.
- Aydintasbas, Asli (12.26.08). "Should Turkey Apologize to the Armenians?". Forbes. Archived from the original on 26 May 2013. Retrieved 15 May 2013. Check date values in:
- "Kampanyayı lince dönüştürdüler". Evrensel. 20 December 2008. Archived from the original on 1 August 2012. Retrieved 16 May 2013.
- Özyürek, Esra (5 January 2009). "A Turkish 'I apologize' campaign to Armenians". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 15 May 2013.
- "Turks apologize for Armenian massacres". NBC News. 15 December 2008. Retrieved 15 May 2013.
- Sassounian, Harut (18 December 2008). "Turks' Apology for Armenian Genocide: Good First Step, but not Good Enough". Huffington Post. Retrieved 15 May 2013.
- "Türk Yağıdan Özür Dilemez!". VatanBir. 23 December 2008. Retrieved 15 May 2013.
- ""Özür diliyorum" yine takip altında". Radikal (in Turkish). 3 March 2009. Retrieved 15 May 2013.
- "özür diliyorum" (in Turkish). December 2017.