Politics 13:45 11/05/2010

Turkish Scholar Taner Akcam Advocates Change in Policy of Genocide Denial

Dr. Taner Akcam, one of the first Turkish scholars to acknowledge the Armenian Genocide, delivered two important lectures in Southern California last week. Based on historical research, he analyzed the underpinnings of Turkey’s denial of the Armenian Genocide and proposed solutions for its official acknowledgment.

Prof. Akcam made his first presentation at Valley Beth Shalom in Encino on May 6, before the screening of Dr. J. Michael Hagopian’s Genocide documentary “The River Ran Red.” Rabbis Harold Schulweis and Edward Feinstein, Jewish World Watch President Janice Kamenir-Reznik, Dr. Hagopian, 96, a genocide survivor, and Archbishop Hovnan Derderian made brief remarks.

Dr. Akcam, Associate Professor of History and Chair of Armenian Genocide Studies at Clark University, explained that the “continuity” of the “military and civilian bureaucracy,” which has been ruling Turkey ever since the inception of the Republic in 1923, is a key reason for denial of the Armenian Genocide. “The founders perceived the ethnic-cultural plurality of society at that time to constitute a problem for the continuity and security of the state.”

Specifically, the Professor identified Hasan Fehmi Bey, a leader of the Union and Progress party that implemented the Armenian Genocide, who had confessed in a speech to Parliament in 1920 that his group knew the international community would call them “murderers” for eliminating the Armenians. However, he indicated that his party’s leaders were prepared to accept being called “murderers,” as their aim was securing “the future of the fatherland.”

In his second presentation on May 7, organized by the Armenian Rights Council of America in Altadena, Dr. Akcam disclosed that “Ergenekon,” the recently exposed criminal group that enjoyed support of the Turkish military, had prepared a hit list of five individuals, including journalist Hrant Dink, Nobel laureate Orhan Pamuk, and Akcam himself, all targeted for assassination because they spoke out on the Armenian Genocide. They were condemned to death as “Traitors to National Security.”

In Akcam’s view, this mindset was not simply the perverted view of an isolated terror group, but that of Turkey’s legal establishment. During the sentencing of two Turkish-Armenian journalists in 2007 for using the term genocide, a Judge ruled that: “Talk about genocide, both in Turkey and in other countries, unfavorably affects national security and the national interest. The claim of genocide... has become part of and the means of special plans aiming to change the geographic, political boundaries of Turkey... and a campaign to demolish its physical and legal structure.” The ruling further stated that the Republic of Turkey is under “a hostile diplomatic siege consisting of genocide resolutions.… The acceptance of this claim may lead in future centuries to a questioning of the sovereignty rights of the Republic of Turkey over the lands on which it is claimed these events occurred.”

According to Akcam, the United States is avoiding the official recognition of the Armenian Genocide out of a similar misguided concern for national security in the Middle East. He stated that “Morality is a very real issue, and for realpolitik to be successful in the region; moral values, in this instance, the specific one of acknowledging historic wrongdoings, must be integrated into a policy of national security…. Failure to confront history honestly is one of the major reasons for insecurity and instability in the region.”

Akcam revealed that after World War I, Turkey’s leaders, including Mustafa Kemal, acknowledged the Armenian massacres and favored the prosecution of their perpetrators in order to gain support of the Allies for the preservation of the territorial integrity of Ottoman Turkey.

However, the hopes of Turkey’s leaders were dashed on both counts. The Treaty of Sèvres in 1920 called for dismemberment of the Ottoman Empire, while the Istanbul Court Martial sentenced to death in absentia the Turkish national leadership, including Mustafa Kemal.

Akcam indicated that the Turkish mindset to this day views “democratization, freedom of thought and speech, open and frank debate about history, [and] acknowledgment of one’s past historical misdeeds, as a threat to national security. Those who invite society to engage in an open examination of the past are therefore labeled ‘traitors’ and made targets of smear campaigns -- dragged into courts and prosecuted under Turkish Criminal Code Article 301 for ‘insulting Turkishness.’”

Akcam warned the United States that any policy “that ignores morality and forgets the addressing of historic wrongdoings is doomed to fail in the end.” He suggested that Turkey should be made to understand that “bullying and threatening others is not the behavior of an international actor. Turkey cannot continue with the same repressive domestic policies towards its own history and minorities under the guise of national security and cannot threaten other countries in expressing their thoughts on 1915, and at the same time pretend to be a member of democratic countries in the world. An open, official acknowledgment by the US government might force Turkey to understand that blackmailing and threatening other states and suppressing and persecuting its own intellectuals do not offer solutions for historical problems and for security.”

At a small gathering, after the May 7 lecture, Akcam disclosed for the first time an alarming incident that had taken place in 1995, following a talk he had delivered on the Armenian Genocide in Yerevan. At the last minute, he had cautiously decided to give a milder version of his prepared remarks. Upon his return to Istanbul, he was shocked when confronted at the airport by Turkish police who had in their possession the harsher version of his talk. He had handed that original version to Armenian officials -- the organizers of the Genocide conference. Someone in Armenia must have leaked his text to the Turkish authorities. Dr. Akcam was able to save his neck from Turkish intelligence agents by showing them the copy of the milder speech that he had actually delivered!

By Harut Sassounian
Publisher, The California Courier



Source Panorama.am
Share |
Տեքստում սխալ կամ վրիպակ նկատելու դեպքում, ուղարկեք խմբագրին հաղորդագրություն` նշելով տվյալ սխալը, այնուհետև սեղմելով Ctrl-Enter:

Newsfeed

14:08
German and Abkhaz observers positively asses the course of voting at Artsakh Constitutional referendum
Deputy Speaker of the Parliament of the unrecognized Abkhaz Republic Gamisonia Alekseyevna who is monitoring the Artsakh...
13:23
World oil prices rising
As a result of e-commerce in London and New York stock exchanges, the oil prices are rising, Gazeta.ru reports. According to the source, the...
13:16
Iranian government approves the joint use of Meghri-Norduz border gates
The Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran has endorsed the agreement on the joint use of Meghri-Norduz border gates, Iranian IRIB Agency...
12:48
President Bako Sahakyan congratulates on Artsakh Revival Day
The President of the Nagorno Karabakh Republic Bako Sahakyan has issued a congratulatory Address on the Artsakh Revival Day. As the Information...
12:15
Iran stage military drills in defiance of US sanctions
The Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Ground Force started the first phase of a large-scale military exercise in Dasht-e Kavir in central...
11:48
Constitutional Referendum voting kicks off in Artsakh
The Artsakh people are voting in a referendum on constitutional amendments which envisage a switch to a presidential form of governance. As the...
11:03
NKR Defense Army: Azerbaijani forces made 55 ceasefire violations overnight
The Azerbaijani forces violated the ceasefire along the Line of Contact between the Nagorno Karabakh Republic (NKR) and Azerbaijani opposing...
10:59
Vahan Martirosyan: Clayderman is always welcome in Armenia
Renown French pianist, composer and performer of classic and ethnic music Richard Clayderman will perform a concert at Karen Demirchyan Sports...
10:32
Berd-Tchambarak road opened
Armenia's Ministry of Transport, Communication and Information Technologies told Panorama.am that as of 19:00 February 20 no precipitation...
10:26
Armenian U-16 beats Andorra
The UEFA Development tournament match day 2 match between U-16 teams of Armenia and Andorra took place on Sunday. The match ended in draw 1-1,...
20:12
Police robot makes China debut
China’s first police robot completed its first official patrol of a railway station in the central Chinese province Henan earlier this...
19:49
Ferdowsi Cup: Rounds 7 and 8 over
Ferdowsi Cup chess championship underway in Tehran comes to its end. 8 out of 11 rounds have already been played. In Round 7, two Armenian GMs...
19:32
One dead, 20 injured as Brussels-bound train tips over in derailment
A train in Leuven, Belgium, has derailed leaving at least one person dead and 20 injured in the accident wreckage, the Express reports. As...
19:21
Road condition update: Several highways closed, difficult to pass in Armenia
The Ministry of Emergency Situations of Armenia reports that as of 18:00 February 18, several highways are closed or difficult to pass across...
18:57
Tablet production doubles in Armenia
According to the data released by Armenia’s National Statistical Service (NSS), in 2016 2012 units of tables were produced in Armenia. The...
18:35
Facilitation of Armenia-EU visa regime discussed within Munich Security Conference
Armenia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Edward Nalbandian, who is taking part in Munich Security Conference, today met with EU Commissioner...
18:07
GM Aronian to compete with Evgeny Tomashevsky in Sharjah Grand Prix 2017
The opening ceremony and the drawing of lots of FIDE World Chess Sharjah Grand Prix took place. According to the drawing results, Armenian GM...
17:12
German journalist detained in Turkey
German correspondent for the daily "Die Welt" newspaper Deniz Yücel  has been taken into custody in Turkey. As Deutsche...
16:52
Iranian media’s assessments on Ilham Aliyev's promise and real steps
“Six months have passed since the agreement reached between Iranian and Azerbaijani presidents, however Azerbaijan has failed to set...
16:10
Armenia’s FM, OSCE Secretary General hold a meeting
Armenian Minister of Foreign Affairs Edward Nalbandian, who is on a working visit to Munich, held a meeting with Secretary General of the...
16:06
Former Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian’s son arrested, suspected in kidnapping
Son of the Former Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian was arrested on February 17 and suspected in participating a group kidnapping of a person and...
15:43
Serviceman killed in Nagorno Karabakh
On 18 February, at around 11:45, NKR Defense Army soldier Lernik Alexander Osyan (b. 1998) received a fatal gunshot wound in unknown...
15:28
Armenia’s Berd-Tchambarak highway closed
Armenia’s Ministry of Transport, Communication and Information Technologies told Panorama.am that as of 14:30 February 18, Vardenyats Pass...
15:04
Armenia delivers another batch of humanitarian aid to Syria
Armenia has delivered another humanitarian aid to the population of the worn-torn Syria according to the agreement reached between the defense...
14:33
President Sargsyan: Keep the powder dry, our struggle continues
“Some people in Azerbaijan keep harboring hopes that Armenia will be vulnerable while being engaged with elections. The adversary may try...
13:13
Earthquake recorded in Armenia’s Gegharkunik province
An earthquake of 2.8 magnitude was registered in Vahan village of Gegharkunik region of Armenia on Saturday at about 10:15 (GMT 06:15),...
13:07
The dream of an impoverished family living with 9 children in a damp and poor housing conditions
35-year-old Hasmik Sahakyan who lives in Geghahovit village of Gegharkunik province in Armenia has recently given birth to her ninth child....
11:58
Armenia’s FM discussed recent development in the Syrian conflict settlement with Staffan de Mistura
Armenian Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian has met on Friday with the UN Secretary-General's Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura. As...
11:01
Ministry of Transport reports the situation on roads throughout Armenia
Armenia’s Ministry of Transport, Communication and Information Technologies told Panorama.am that as of 09:30, February 18 clear ice is...
10:39
Around 600 shots fired toward the Armenian positions
The Azerbaijani forces violated the ceasefire across the Line of Contact between the Nagorno Karabakh Republic (NKR) and Azerbaijani opposing...

Follow us and get updates!

Most popular articles

{"core.blocks.header.spell_message1":"Selected mistake: ","core.blocks.header.spell_message2":"Send a message about the mistake?"}