Turkey Launches ‘Genocide’ Investigation Against Akcam

ISTANBUL–Taner Akcam, the first Turkish intellectual to publicly recognize the Armenian Genocide, has become the latest to be investigated for "insulting Turkishness." The Istanbul newspaper Radikal reported that an official investigation has been opened against the University of Minnesota professor, who has said that the Armenian deportations of 1915 and on constituted Genocide. In an October 6, 2006, newspaper column in the Turkish-Armenian journal Agos, Akcam criticized the prosecution of Agos managing editor Hrant Dink for using the term "genocide," thereby "insulting Turkishness" under the notorious Article 301 of Turkey’s penal code. Highlighting the term "genocide," Akcam declared himself an accessory to the charges against Dink, and urged readers to join in Dink’s support. In response, Recep Akkus, an associate of ultra-nationalist attorney Kemal Kerincsiz, filed a criminal complaint against Akcam based on penal code articles 301 (the "insulting Turkishness" provision), 214 (instigation to commit a crime), 215 (praising a crime and a criminal’), and 216 (instigating public animosity and hatred). Akcam replied in a deposition at the public prosecutor’s office in Sisli on January 5. Akcam is the author of A Shameful Act: The Armenian Genocide and the Question of Turkish Responsibility, which has been widely and positively reviewed in the United States and has brought a great deal of public attention lately to the author and the subject of the Armenian Genocide.

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