Society 14:07 17/05/2011

Interview with Fethiye Cetin: Turkish official historiography is based on a big lie

Author Interview - Astghik Igityan, Translation -

 Recently, Fethiye Cetin, renowned Turkish writer and lawyer of Armenian origin has arrived in Yerevan. This time she had her second book, titled “My Grandchildren” to present to the Armenian readers. Her first book titled “My Grandmother” tells the story of her Grandma. For years, Seher grandma, whose real name was Heranush Kataryan, had been keeping her origin secret and only at the ebb of her life she told her granddaughter she was Armenian and used to be a Christian until 1915.

In Yerevan, Fethiye Cetin has had an exclusive interview with “”.

- What were your feelings when you heard you’re a granddaughter of Moslem Armenian?
- The first thing I could feel was “inner rebellion.” Rebellion against the lie we were taught to hide the reality. I felt furious. I wanted to run and scream “we were cheated, kept far from the truth.” My pain was inexplicable. At the same time I could feel shame. I could feel shame for my changed identity.

- The presentation of your second book – “My Grandchildren” took place in Yerevan. What is it about?
- In 2004 my first book – “Grandmother” was released in Turkey. After the release of the book many contacted me to tell their stories of grandparents. Each of those stories proved that the official historiography of Turkey is based on a big lie. “Grandmother” made many interested. They wanted to know what had happened in 1915. With Ayshe Gul Altinay we decided to publish a book, we accumulated the stories of those who agreed. Many felt scared because of taboos and dangers.

- You are both a writer and a lawyer. Now you deal with the trial of Hrant Dink. What expectations do you have?
-Besides Hrant Dink’s trial, I’m the lawyer of “Agos” weekly and Hrant Dink fund. Though 4 years have passed since the assassination of Hrant Dink, there is a great demand of public to punish the criminals, and, unfortunately, those who are guilty are not revealed. To be short – we have evidence, we have documents, we have a witness, but still we don’t have wish to investigate it. Certain limits are drawn and the judges cannot pass them. While people demand punishment for the murderers. The “clues” of Dink’s assassination are let to statesmen, and everybody can see it. This trial contributed to bring into agenda unrevealed assassinations, discussions, investigations.

-Is there a public demand for the normalization of Armenian-Turkish relations in Turkey?
- I cannot say there is a great demand, but at the same time there isn’t a great opposition. The state diplomacy and public demand have nothing in common. The normalization of the relations demands genuine will and courage.

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