MHP: "I'm ashamed of the people behind the apology initiative"

Opposition Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahceli yesterday he was ashamed of the scholars who started an initiative to apologize for the 1915 killings of Armenians at the hands of the Ottomans. Speaking with reporters, Bahceli said that Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's statement that he wouldn't let Turkey be divided shows that even after his 2005 visit to Diyarbakir, Erdogan sees the plots threatening Turkey.

He said the premier's statement also shows his agreement with the MHP's ideas, calling this an "important step." These issues should be solved in Parliament, not on the streets, he added. Bahceli also criticized an initiative by the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) to welcome members who wear chadors, saying that Baykal should clarify his stance on the issue.

Source: Milliyet (Turkey), December 19, 2008

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Prime Minister's Words on Apologizing To The Armenians

The Prime Minister criticizes those who campaign to apologize to the Armenians about the Great Catastrophe of 1915 by describing the whole thing as irrational.

The campaign was organized with the support of the 200 academicians, journalists, jurists and activists and it intends to apologize to the Armenians for the Great Catastrophe their ancestors, the Ottoman Armenians, had experienced in 1915. The text of the campaign says the following:

“My conscience does not accept the insensitivity shown 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 and sisters, I apologize to them.”

The number of the signatures has reached 12341.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan described the campaign as irrational and said, “One who committed the crime should apologize. It is not us. I do not accept it, I do not support it.”

Mentioning those who signed the declaration, Erdogan said, "it seems that they themselves did such a genocide so they are apologizing. The Republic of Turkey does not have such a problem." Erdogan argued that this campaign would only cause chaos and harm peace.

Erdogan also said, "I have difficulties in understanding these intellectuals. It is not possible to understand what kind of an approach this is. Apologizing only binds individuals. If a crime is committed, the person who commits this crime apologizes. It is illogical to apologize when there is not such a crime."

Source: Bianet (Turkey), December 17, 2008; Milliyet (Turkey), December 18, 2008

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