Spiegel Online: 'Eroding One of Turkey's Biggest Taboos' (interview)

More than 25,000 Turks have added their names to an online statement apologizing for Ottoman war crimes committed during World War I. SPIEGEL spoke with campaign initiator Baskin Oran.

SPIEGEL: Since the beginning of your online campaign, more than 25,000 Turks have signed a statement apologizing for war crimes committed by the Ottoman Empire during World War I. More than a million Armenians lost their lives in the catastrophic events which began in 1915. Is this the beginning of a critical examination of the past?

Oran: The Turks who are now apologizing are not responsible for the sins of 1915. There is no collective crime, but there is a collective conscience. With our campaign, we are eroding one of Turkey's biggest taboos. But still, the campaign is coming decades late.

SPIEGEL: Turkish nationalists say that you are damaging the country's image. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan agrees.

Oran: I disagree. I think that our image abroad will actually improve. Beyond that though, it is for the grandchildren of the Armenians who finally should hear an apology -- in a country like Turkey that has no "culture of apology."

SPIEGEL: What effect will the campaign have on Turkish-Armenian relations?..

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