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

20:21
Exhibition entitled “TimeXtimeXtimeX” opened at Artists' Union of Armenia
Exhibition of the works by Armenian sculptor, artist Gevorg Mshetsi-Javrushyan entitled “TimeXtimeXtimeX” was opened today at...
20:02
Chernobyl liquidators to receive state benefits in Armenia
The Armenian government adopted the regulation of granting a status to people who were called upon to deal with consequences of the 1986...
19:27
Prime Minister announces a tight budget for 2017
The National Assembly of Armenia has adopted today the draft law on the state budget of the Republic of Armenia for 2017. Finance Minister...
18:40
Gohar Manushakyan: Unigraph X engaged with torturing stray animals
Members of “DiNGO Team” NGO that is specialized in protection of stray animals, staged a protest in front of the government...
18:06
Minister of Culture announces priority issues of the sphere
Armenian Minister of Culture Armen Amiryan has stated that the comprehensive review of the book-publishing sphere is among the top priorities of...
16:55
12th annual DigiTec technological international exhibition commences
The 12th annual international DigiTec Expo 2016 held under the slogan “Fest for technological Armenians” starts. This year DigiTec...
16:08
Sergey Smbatyan conducts CIS Youth Symphony Orchestra
Artistic director and chief conductor of the Armenian State Youth Orchestra conducted the CIS Youth Symphony Orchestra on September 28 in Minsk....
14:41
New list of members and regulations on activities of Expert Council on Prevention of Torture to RA Ombudsman established
By the decision of the Human Rights Defender of the Republic of Armenia of September 28, 2016, the Expert Council on Prevention of Torture to...
14:39
Armen Amiryan: I told my wife I'm going to devote most of my time to someone else
Before the start of the Cabinet meeting, newly appointed RA Minister of Culture, Armen Amiryan told the reporters that his work will be open and...
14:36
Amnesty International accuses Sudan of using chemical weapons
Sudan's government has carried out at least 30 likely chemical weapons attacks in the Jebel Marra area of Darfur since January using what...
14:35
Azerbaijan: Constitutional Referendum held in atmosphere of total falsifications and detention of activists
Constitutional Referendum in Azerbaijan was not compatible with the country’s international obligations, AnarMammadli – the head of...
13:58
Levon Altunyan admits being a millionaire
Newly appointed RA Minister of Health, Levon Altunyan hurrying to the Cabinet meeting, managed to answer one question. One of the reporters...
13:46
Prime Minister thanked newly appointed Ministers for joining the Government
At the start of the Government session, RA Prime Minister, Karen Karapetyan congratulated the newly appointed Ministers of Health, Culture,...
13:30
Criticism regarding Iskander has several explanations, political scientist says
“The criticism and disagreements regarding the Iskander [ballistic missile system] have several explanations,” Deputy Director of...
12:35
SCPEC: Yandex operating by unfair competition rules
The RA State Commission for Protection of Economic Competition began studying the activities of Yandex Taxi service, Chairman of RA SCPEC, Artak...
11:26
Muslim journalist poses for Playboy wearing a hijab
A Muslim journalist has posed for Playboy magazine wearing a hijab - a first for the publication that until a year ago favored nude models,...
11:24
17 countries confirmed for Junior Eurovision Song Contest 2016
The European Broadcasting Union (EBU) has announced  the 17 countries taking part in the Junior Eurovision Song Contest 2016. The next...
10:46
Obama orders flags at half-staff for Peres
President Barack Obama has ordered all U.S. flags on federal property to be flown at half-staff in the memory of former Israeli President and...
10:44
Turkey to complete Syria border wall within 5 months, official says
A concrete wall being built to stop illegal crossings along the length of Turkey's 900-km (560-mile) border with Syria will be finished by...
10:21
NKR Defense Army: Adversary fired 500 shots
The adversary violated the ceasefire on the Line of Contact between Nagorno Karabakh and Azerbaijan more than 20 times by firing over 500 shots...
19:48
Syria war: Those bombing Aleppo 'must answer to God' - Pope
Pope Francis has decried the bombing of Aleppo in Syria, saying those responsible for killing civilians will have to answer to God, BBC writes....
19:32
‘Old Yerevan’ project came into being, which doesn’t have any historical value
“I have a positive opinion regarding the creation of a Committee for the Protection of Architectural and Cultural Monuments,” expert...
18:30
Great indifference towards the cross stones of Jugha cemetery
“The Republic of Armenia shows a great indifference towards the cross stones of Jugha cemetery,” expert on Nakhijevan, Honoured...
17:53
Forpostart production is aware that it won’t be held responsible, Pipoyan says
Chairman of Informed and Protected Consumer NGO, Babken Pipoyan compares the activities of Forpostart production to a situation when an airline...
17:33
Iskander is also political tool for Armenia, political scientist says
The Iskander [ballistic missile system] doesn’t only a possess a military potential, but it’s also a political tool for Armenia,...
12:57
Armenia up 3 places to 79th on global competitiveness index
Armenia has moved up 3 positions to rank 79th on a global index of the world's most competitive economies, according to the report of World...
12:25
US announces $364 million more in aid for Syrians
The US. State Department said it was providing an additional $364 million in humanitarian assistance to help Syrians caught up in the...
11:54
Edward Nalbandian spoke about the imperative of the current stage in the Nagorno-Karabakh settlement
Implementation of the agreements reached during the Vienna and St. Petersburg meetings is of an imperative, Armenian acting Foreign Minister...
11:39
International media reports: Constitutional amendments lead to establishment of monarchy in Azerbaijan
OnSeptember 26, AzerbaijanheldConstitutionalReferendum. The referendum was initiated by President IlhamAliyev, who has ruled since 2003 and...
11:36
Harut Sassounian: Campaign contribution…or legal bribery?
This column is mostly intended for readers outside the United States who may not be familiar with U.S. campaign contribution laws....

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?"}