Fatma Müge Göçek
E-International Relations - Jul 7 2014
On 23 April 2014, one day before the 99th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan issued a message through the Internet, delivering his condolences to the grandchildren of the victims of the Armenian genocide. He stated that great pain was experienced during World War I, that understanding and sharing this pain was a duty of humanity, and that what was experienced in 1915 had to be investigated.  Was this an apology? If it was, it was certainly different in tone from his prior 23 November 2011 apology to the Kurds for the massacres they suffered.  In the latter context, he referred to the debate he had with the opposition leader Kılıçdaroğlu over the Dersim massacres while delivering a speech to the city leaders of his party; he disclosed four official documents to demonstrate the opposition party’s culpability, and then concluded by stating that he apologized on behalf of the Turkish state since the opposition leader whose party was responsible failed to do so. This article briefly reviews the apology literature, articulates what a successful apology ought to contain, and then discusses the Armenian and Kurdish cases to argue that neither of the statements comprised an apology.