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

14:17
The 12th edition of Japanese Film Festival kicks off in Armenia
The 12th Japanese film festival will be held in Armenia from October 19-23 this year devoted to the 25th anniversary of establishment of...
13:43
No party interested in changing the status quo around Karabakh at this stage, the political analyst insists
“There is no issue of changing the status quo in the Karabakh conflict, instead a growing demand for formation of a certain political...
13:30
Istanbul street to be named after Armenian-Turkish photojournalist Ara Guler
The municipality of Istanbul adopted a decision to name Toshabag street in Beyoglu district after the renowned Armenian-Turkish photojournalist,...
12:30
National Assembly Speaker Ara Babloyan to head for Warsaw
The Armenian parliamentary delegation headed by Speaker of the National Assembly Ara Babloyan will pay official visit to the Republic of Poland...
12:29
Austria's next chancellor a 31-year-old conservative
Sebastian Kurz, a 31-year-old conservative, is set to become the next chancellor of Austria and Europe's youngest leader, though he will...
11:44
U.N. welcomes the Armenian-Azerbaijani presidential summit
“The Secretary-General welcomes the summit held on 16 October in Geneva, Switzerland, between the President of the Republic of Armenia,...
20:30
Death toll soars to 31 in Portugal and Spain wildfires
A spate of wildfires in central and north Portugal which started at the weekend has killed at least 31 people, civil defence authorities say,...
20:16
Trump: I hope Clinton runs in 2020
U.S. President Trump said Monday that he hopes former Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton runs again in the 2020 election, according...
20:00
Armenian national football team to play two friendlies
The Armenian national football team will hold a friendly match with the Belarus national team on November 9. The Armenian team will face...
19:52
New entry period for United States 2019 Diversity Visa Program announced
Due to technical issues, the registration period for the 2019 Diversity Visa Program is being restarted, and all entries made prior to October...
18:59
Artsakh foreign ministry comments on Sargsyan-Aliyev meeting
The Information and Public Relations Department of the Foreign Ministry of the Republic of Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh) has issued its comments on...
18:23
Armenian football team loses seven spots in FIFA rankings
FIFA announced the updated ranking for national football teams on Monday, with the Armenian team losing seven spots to hold the 90th position...
18:07
Explosion in southeast Turkey kills two soldiers: CNN Turk
Two Turkish soldiers were killed on Monday in the southeastern province of Hakkari after an improvised explosive device detonated, Reuters...
17:55
Sargsyan-Aliyev meeting took place in constructive atmosphere: statement
The OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs and the Armenian and Azerbaijani foreign ministers have released a joint statement following today’s...
17:28
Armenian parliament speaker meets with heads of parliaments of Slovakia, Egypt and Benin
On the sidelines of his visit to Saint Petersburg, Speaker of the Armenian National Assembly (NA), Ara Babloyan on Sunday met with the Speaker...
16:41
Sargsyan-Aliyev meeting over in Geneva
The meeting between the Armenian and Azerbaijani leaders is over in Geneva, a spokesman for the Armenian president said in a tweet....
16:12
World oil prices up
As a result of e-commerce in London and New York stock exchanges, the world oil prices are rising, Gazeta.ru reports. According to the...
16:01
U.S. Embassy joins Ministry of Health to open regional disease prevention labs
The U.S. Embassy to Armenia joins the Armenian Ministry of Health to open regional disease prevention labs, the press service of the embassy...
15:43
Armenian, Azeri presidents holding private talks in Geneva
Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan and his Azerbaijani counterpart Ilham Aliyev are currently holding a private meeting following their talks in...
15:20
Artsakh president introduces key provisions of 2017-2020 Program
President of the Nagorno-Karabakh (Artsakh) Republic Bako Sahakyan on Monday convened an extended consultation devoted to the key provisions of...
14:39
Armenian, Azerbaijani presidents begin talks in Geneva
“Talks between Serzh Sargsyan and Ilham Aliyev kicked off moments ago in Geneva with OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs in attendance,”...
13:56
Armenian-language film “Yeva” put on the list of Oscar Best Foreign Film category
The Armenian-language film “Yeva” -  a co-production between Armenia and Iran, was included in the preliminary list of the...
13:24
President Serzh Sargsyan arrived in Geneva to meet with his Azerbaijani counterpart
“Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan arrived in Geneva today to meet with the President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev,” press secretary...
12:56
Serbia defends Armenia’s position of solving the Karabakh problem through peaceful means - Maya Goykovic
The Speaker of the National Assembly of Serbia Maya Goykovic shares Armenia’s position of solving the Karabakh problem through peaceful...
12:24
Minsk chosen to host the 2018 Junior Eurovision Song Contest
The European Broadcasting Union (EBU) has named Belarus chosen to host the 16th Junior Eurovision Song Contest in Minsk in 2018. As the informed...
12:06
Alleged Pyongyang propaganda leaflets found near South Korean President's Office
Small bills have been spotted on the streets near Cheong Wa Dae, the official residence of the South Korean head of state, in Seoul, Sputnik...
12:05
MES warns wind intensification expected in the north of Armenia
Armenian ministry of emergency situation (MES) urge the citizens to be careful and to go out as little as possible due to the intensification of...
11:27
Armenian citizens suffered in a road accident in Georgia
Two Armenians suffered in a car accident that had occurred near Sadakhlo village of Georgia’s Marneuli region. As Armenian ministry of...
10:59
Serj Tankian and a CNN camera team attending Narekatsi Art Union
Narekatsi Art Union in Yerevan hosted on Sunday and the vocalist of the metal band System of a Down (SOAD), singer-songwriter,...
10:18
Armenian chess players took second and third places at European Youth Gran Prix
The 2nd leg of European Youth Gran Prix series took place in Jermuk, in Armenia, from 3rd- 16th October, attended by 12 young players from...

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?"}