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

11:27
China says Interpol ex-president confesses to bribe taking
Former Interpol President Meng Hongwei confessed to accepting more than $2 million in bribes and expressed regret for his crime, a Chinese court...
11:16
Tourists clear garbage near Armenia’s Temple of Garni
Around a week ago, a group of foreign tourists cleared the garbage near the Temple of Garni located in Armenia’s Kotayk Province on their...
10:58
Armenian FM, top U.S. official discuss bilateral ties in Washington
On a working visit to Washington, D.C., Foreign Minister Zohrab Mnatsakanyan of Armenia on Wednesday met with the United States Under Secretary...
10:23
Iranian military claims to have shot down US spy drone
Iran's Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) claim to have shot down a US spy drone over Iranian airspace, BBC reported, citing Iranian...
20:31
Short-term rains predicted at night hours of June 20-24 in most regions
Short-term rain and thunderstorm is predicted at night and in the afternoon of June 20-24 in most regions of Armenia, in separate places hail is...
20:15
PM says issues obstructing the NK settlement process to be raised during the talks
“All issues that obstruct the NK negotiations process will be raised and addressed during the talks,” Armenian Prime Minister Nikol...
19:31
Armenia among top five destinations for Russian tourists
Armenia has been included in the top five tourism destinations for Russian based on online survey results conducted by Tur Stat agency. The list...
19:12
Armenian customs agents prevent medication smuggling attempt at Zvartnots airport
As a result of joint investigative operations, the officers of Internal security and preclearance control departments at the State Revenue...
18:57
Investigators name three Russian, one Ukrainian nationals suspected in downing of MH17 flight
The Dutch-led group of international investigators who formed to examine the 2014 MH17 downing have named four suspects. Three are Russian...
18:43
Ashot Melkonyan’s entry to Georgia not banned, Embassy clarifies
Director of RA NAS Institute of History, academician Ashot Melkonyan can enter the territory of Georgia without any restriction, Armenian...
16:10
Credible evidence Saudi crown prince liable for Khashoggi's murder, says UN report
There is credible evidence warranting further investigation that Prince Mohammed bin Salman is among high-level Saudi officials liable for the...
15:57
Small sit-in against tax changes taking place outside Armenian parliament
Members of the Alert initiative are staging a sit-in against the expected tax changes outside the Armenian National Assembly on Wednesday....
15:32
Syrian-Armenian artist Kevork Mourad addresses divisions in humanity by recreating Babel
‘Where Babel separated, visual art connects,’ says Syrian-Armenian artist Kevork Mourad, who launches his solo exhibition, Seeing...
15:11
Armenia appoints new justice minister
President Armen Sarkissian of Armenia has signed a decree to appoint Rustam Badasyan as Armenia’s new Justice Minister. The president...
14:59
Decline in Armenia’s export volumes ‘concerning’, finance chief says
The decline recorded in Armenia’s export volumes is concerning, Finance Minister Atom Janjughazyan said on Wednesday while presenting the...
14:01
EU ministers urge action over Turkey’s drilling off Cyprus
European Union foreign ministers on Tuesday urged the 28-member bloc to immediately draw up a list of “appropriate measures” against...
13:55
Judge Armen Danielyan to continue presiding over trial of Kocharyan, other top ex-officials
Judge Armen Danielyan, presiding over the trial of Armenia’s second President Robert Kocharyan and three other former senior officials...
13:20
U.S. House approves additional $40 million in democracy aid to Armenia
Congressional Armenian Caucus Co-Chair Jackie Speier (D-CA) secured strong bipartisan support today for the adoption, by the full U.S. House, of...
12:58
Armenian Patriarchate of Constantinople to elect new Locum Tenens on June 27
The Armenian Patriarchate of Constantinople is set to elect new Locum Tenens on Thursday, 27 June. The decision was made at Tuesday’s...
12:19
Armenia’s futsal team beats Italy in friendly
The Armenian national futsal team faced Italy in an away friendly match played in Novara on 18 June. Armenia won 2-1 as Henrique Costa da...
12:06
John Bolton to host Armenian, Azerbaijani FMs in Washington
The assistant to U.S. President Donald Trump for National Security Affairs, John Bolton will host Armenian and Azerbaijani Foreign Minsters...
11:51
Japan revises law to ban parents from physically punishing children
Japan's parliament enacted Wednesday a revised law banning parents and other guardians from physically punishing children following several...
11:39
Judge again asked to recuse himself from trial of Kocharyan, other former officials
The Yerevan Criminal Court of Appeals, under presiding judge Armen Danielyan, resumed on Wednesday morning hearings in the trial of...
10:52
Michel Platini released after questioning over 2022 Qatar World Cup corruption
Ex-UEFA president Michel Platini was released from custody on Wednesday after hours of questioning in connection with a criminal investigation...
10:44
Turkey’s membership in NATO could be ending soon…
By Harut Sassounian Publisher, The California Courier Patrick Shanahan, Acting Defense Secretary of the United States, sent on June 6,...
10:36
Armenian FM meets with Minsk Group mediators in Washington
A meeting of Armenian Foreign Minister Zohrab Mnatsakanyan and OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs Igor Popov (Russia), Stéphane Visconti...
10:22
Trump formally launches 2020 re-election bid
US President Donald Trump has formally launched his re-election campaign, urging supporters to "keep this team in place" for four more...
10:16
Armenian government discusses draft strategic SRC action plan for 2020-2024
Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan on Tuesday held a consultation with the deputy prime ministers and the heads of the agencies responsible...
20:31
Police: 50 cases of crime detected over the past day in Armenia
According to the operations reports of Police of the Republic of Armenia, 50 cases of crime were detected by officers of various police...
20:11
Erdogan says France has no right to speak about East Mediterranean
Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said France has no right to speak on affairs regarding Cyprus, Ahval News reported It reminds...

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?"}