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Score one for freedom of thought

In one of Turkey's rare moments of enhancing (or at least ceding control to) a democratic process, the Ankara Chief Prosecutor’s Office has concluded that there is no basis to prosecute Turkish intellectuals who collected signatures for a statement that contained a personal apology for the events of 1915, which Armenians claim constituted genocide.

The "We Apologize" campaign, the initiative of a group of Turkish intellectuals who decided to offer personal apologies to the Armenian people for the "great catastrophe" in the Ottoman Empire has elicited a wide international response.

“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 and sisters. I apologize to them,” the message reads.

The petition is uploaded on the website:

The prosecutor’s decision was based on the idea that “in democratic societies, opposition views are under protection within the framework of freedom of thought,” the Anatolia news agency reported.

Prompted by six Ankara residents, the Ankara chief prosecutor launched an investigation into the organizers of the apology campaign and the people who signed the statement. In their petition in early January, the six citizens based their arguments on the grounds established by the Turkish Penal Code’s (TCK) infamous Article 301, which has been used to prosecute several intellectuals, journalists and activists for “insulting Turkishness.”