Turkish thinkers' Armenia apology

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An internet petition has been launched in Turkey, apologising for the"great catastrophe of 1915" when hundreds of thousands of Ottoman Armenians died.

Armenians and many international historians describe as "genocide" the massacres and deaths during a forced deportation from eastern Turkey.

Turkey firmly denies that, saying those killed were just victims of war.

The petition - the first of its kind - was initiated by prominent Turkish academics and newspaper columnists.

They say they want to challenge the official denial and provoke discussion in Turkish society about what happened.

The petition is entitled "I apologise", and a short statement at the top rejects what it calls the ignorance and denial in Turkey of what the Ottoman Armenians suffered in 1915.

It then apologises for the pain that was caused.

It is a bold and original step in a country where writer Hrant Dink was killed just last year for openly saying that the events of 1915 were genocide.

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