Thursday, August 30, 2007

Professor Erik-Jan Zürcher and Turkey

The Medal of High Distinction award of Turkey was presented to him at the Turkish Embassy in The Hague by Ambassador Tacem Ildem.

Erik-Jan Zurcher has been a Professor in the Netherlands of Turkish languages and cultures since 1987. His book: 'Turkey, a Modern history' is well-known in Turkey.
In 2005, he received the Medal of High Distinction from the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, an honor which is rarely awarded.

Hürriyet, Turkish mainstream bourgeois newspaper runs a story about R. Fisk, and are misusing the views of Erik-Jan Zurcher about the Armenian Genocide, suggesting that Prof. Zurcher are on the denial side...

Let's have a look at some extracts, links etc. about Erik-Jan:

"But apologies are not a matter for discussion," says Erik J. Zürcher, professor of Turkish linguistics and literature at the University of Leiden. "It is not realistic to make the present Turkish Republic responsible for the murders of 1915. The Turkish government could, however, express finding the events tragic." This is not to be expected. Turkish pride and fear for an Armenian claim to "Wiedergutmachung" come in the way of normalization.

Here is the article. VPRO is an outstanding TV station in the Netherlands.

"At the same time, the feeling that what had happened should never be allowed to happen again; that Anatolia should not go the way of the Balkans and was in a very real sense the “Turk’s last stand” was certainly instrumental in the decisions to embark on the wholesale extermination of the Armenians and the expulsion of the Greek Orthodox"

Here is the article.

Introducing Taner Akcam professor Erik-Jan Zürcher, professor of Turkish language and culture at the University of Leiden, mentioned that Akcam is one of the scholars, who presents “the state of the art” in his field of research. He combines in his research Armenian scientific publications, documents from Ottoman archives and Turkish Military Tribunal of 1919 as well as documents found in the German archives. After Akcam’s speech many Turks stood up to protest rather than ask questions, but Akcam peacefully and effectively managed to give clear response and at the same time tried to pacify the Turks by repeating the statement: “we have to learn to talk”.

Answering a question about the Turkish proposal to Armenia to form a joint commission of Turkish and Armenian historians, professor Zürcher said that a dialogue is necessary, but that the proposal is not as innocent as it seems, because of the conditions put forward by Turkey. Turkey wants the historians to be appointed by the governments and also all political discussion on historical subjects to be suspended during the work of the commission. It should not come as a surprise that Armenia cannot accept the proposal under such conditions.

Here is the article.

I agree with the research of Erik-Jan in contesting misconceptions and prejudices about Turkey. But Hürriyet did a lousy job: Professor Zurcher endorsed the Armenian Genocide claim. But he encouraged in his books, interviews, and seminars etc. reconciliation.


alissa said...

Interesting Mr. de Wit.
Your fake sympathy for the real Armenian case is not in your hands.

Cem said...

Thanks Hans.
You are impartial. Hope that one day my people will face what happened, and will grow/maturing.

Anonymous said...

I agree that there should be much more contacts between Armenians and Turkish people.

I also think that there is a big difference in general between Diaspora-Armenians and Armenians from Armenia. Both obviously want recognition of the Armenian genocide, but the latter think much more pragmatical about the issue. For them it is not just about the genocide, but also about their everyday life and the (economic) situation and improvement in their own country. Local Armenians often accuse Diasporans of being too focused on genocide recognition and too little on Armenia itself and the development of the country. Slightly off-topic to the actual post, I know, but I do think it's something worth pointing out.

Hans A.H.C. de Wit said...

Meanwhile, quite notably, Robert Kocharian, president of Armenia with which Turkey has no diplomatic relations, as well as Armenia’s Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian also sent congratulatory messages to Gül, Armenian media reported

Emre Kizilkaya said...

Shame. Shame. Shame.

Once again, you set up all your story on a misinformation, Hans.

If you could have read (or actually understood) Hurriyet story, you would see that it doesn't say or imply that Prof. Zurcher denies genocide claims. There is no such word.

It is only written that he is among the historians who accepts that so-called Talat Pasha telegrams are fake and they were forged by fanatic Armenians.

Hurriyet article mentions Zurcher's name only in one sentence, saying that, "Look, even this foreign guy -who believes that a genocide occured- accepts Turkish position about those fake documents." Ask to your Turkish friends for a translation, if you don't believe in me.

Shortly, the whole of your posting is empty now, as your statement, Hurriyet "suggesting that Prof. Zurcher are on the denial side" is obviously a lie.

Please stop taunting people and slandering institutions with such pinchbeck info.

If I were you, that wouldn't be the perspective I might have. Instead, I would be congratulating Turkish authorities and say:

"Look, there is a Dutch professor, he defends Armenian Genocide and he is still awarded by the Turkish state."

While Turks who deny the Genocide are being prosecuted and sentenced in European countries...

Hans said...

Emre, maybe I had to write the word 'suggestion; in italic.

The article was translated well.

And the intention of this guy, who believes that the Armenian Genocide/Democide is a fairy tale, by pointing to one document (fake or not) to make this denial justified, is a joke.

As far as I know, one Turkish person is prosecuted by making provocative statements in Switzerland. Is he jailed? No.

Shame on me? No, shame on the denial, it is the last and 8 stage of genocide.

Emre Kizilkaya said...

I can't believe how come you still defend your posting even after learning that it is completely wrong.

1) You built the base of this post on an idea: With your words, "Hürriyet, (...) suggesting that Prof. Zurcher are on the denial side."

2) And you still insist that you understood Hurriyet article very well.

3) Meanwhile, Hurriyet article is more than 500 words and Zurcher's name is mentioned only once. I would translate this sentence for you:

"Dutch historian Prof Zurcher and English author Andrew Mango have also stated that these 5 telegrams are proved as fake documents."

4) As everyone can see, you didn't even read the article. You just wanted to mock Hurriyet and Turkey, that's all.

5) I'm not sorry on behalf of you, but I am sorry for the people who would read your posting and accept it as a proof without further questioning.

6) Thank you for giving a perfect example of all genocide claimers who accuse people superficially without listening to them.

Hans said...


I am not a people pleaser as you understand what I mean!

1) The post is about Erik-Jan Zurcher, not about Hurriyet, don't be so egocentric.

2) Maybe my wife is a dummy, I don't think so.

3) Yes, so what? The posting is about Zurcher as you can see the heading. And I am surprised that he got that Turkish award, since he is not a follower of the official Turkish state doctrine.

4) Hurriyet mocking..)) You are kidding me. Turkey mocking? Because I don't share your opinion and your 'way of bringing news'? I am now an 'official Turkey mocker'?
I received quite some angry emails from Armenians, Greeks, Greeks Cypriots, but never from a Turk, how come?
Are you used to critics? I don't think so.

5) Don't feel sorry for my readers. As far as I can see they are grown ups.

6) Looks like that the whole world are falling in the 'Armenian trap'...are all those people idiots? You give an perfect example of stage 8 of Genocide.


mirdifderya said...

So Eric-Jan Zurcher is Dutch?:)

Hans said...

Yes, who got one of the Highest awards in Turkey....))
Never heard about the guy...
I like Ton Zwaam...of centre of Holocaust and genocide studies...))
Do we have to boycot Zurcher now?..))

Cem said...

I think Hans wanted to emphasize why Hurriyet is using this Dutch professor, while he is supporting Armenia...weird situation.

Tufan said...

Well Emre,
I am a lurker, on this blog, yours, and several others for the last months. And it’s time to say something. After checking your profile, which shows that you are 25 years old, and reading your comments, that you are Political Scientist BS., gives me more reason to counter your writings, statement, comments as a fellow Turk.
Your selfishness by bragging that you already know what is right and wrong in the world, explaining how Europeans must behave, how great Turkey is, and how unfair Turkey is ‘disposed’ in the world, gives me as an Turk uneasy feelings. I am born in Turkey, graduated at METU and just got my Masters at Yale. What I see here (and on your blog) is uneasiness with Hans his statements. In fact, he has the damn courage to bring co-authors in who are not in line with his views. At the same time, I see you attacking him personally, on his blog, and you are very helpful to grant people space to insult him, over and over again, on your blog. His attempt, to bring some kind of understanding between ordinary Turks and Armenians is disturbed on a rude way by your hostile comments here. Are you familiar with the courses at Harvard, where the great grand-daughter of Mogenthau, Dr. Pamela Steiner, brings people of Turkish and Armenian descent together? But in your rhetoric, you conspire with a way of writing which brings me to an expression: ‘telling half the truth is telling one big lie’.
Soon I will have a blog, to show my points-of-view.

mirdifderya said...

I agree:) and looking forward your Blog Tufan!

Sophia said...

Dear Tufan,

Great comment.

My parents were born in Nicosia, I am born in London. And we are Greek Orthodox, but Cypriots on the first place. Have some wonderful Turkish and Cypriot friends here. What I witnessed the last years is that Turks, when living abroad are open to talk. But Turks in Turkey (been there several times) don't dare to open up. But they are kind and gentle (occasionaly I met some nationalists who consider me as their enemy, but that is another story)

Hans his approach is straight forward; I read his columns with pleasure, and yes, you are right Tufan, he as a foreigner in Turkey is trying - at least - to open up a discussion. Turkey face a lot of 'issues', as they call the massacres it so nicely. I, and my family never condemned the Turkish people at large what the Turkey's government did in 1974.
But it is time to think in terms of respect and reconciliation. Not with all kind of 'but's' and preconditions put down on the table by Turkey.
Derya and Myrthe, level up with each other; looks like that the both of you are strong women.
Emre; starting a comment with 'Shame, Shame, Shame' makes me speechless. You look like a complete ignorant person. Respect people in their opinion, even when it is opposite to yours.
Hans, my friend, you are great.
A big hug from London to you all.

Hans said...

I don't think Emre his intentions are bad. And after I made some harsh statements on his blog, I have to pay for that...))
Tufan, looking forward to your blog! You graduated at Yale in what?

Tufan said...

Dear Hans, I graduated at Yale SOM (School of Management).
I am a political scientist, and specialized in organizational behavior in emerging markets.
All about ethics, economy and political movements.

William Hermansen Lien said...

Tufan, great comment.
I already noticed that Mr. Emre is very fond about him self. While making and writing fake statements, linking facts and rumours to confuse people.
Hans, I love Amsterdam, but it is grey and dark here..((

mirdifderya said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
mirdifderya said...

Dear Sophia, Thank you for the coment:)

Have many Greek Cypriot friends lot common to talk and share, I was born and rised in Turkey married with Brit and lived within in 8 countries and half Turkish Cypriot:)

Sean Jeating said...

Dear Hans,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

was it Churchill who said: "I do not trust any statistics, as long as I did not forge/falsify it myself."?
Analogue, certain people seem to follow the maxim:
I do not trust in history that I have not written myself.

As for young heros of investigative journalism:
There is a nice saying: Three months ago I did not know how to spell schornalist - and today I happen to be one.

Postscriptum: The political cabaret artist Werner Fink, when noticing members of Gestapo and SS in theatre, used to say: "Those who feel insulted are meant."

mirdifderya said...

Dear Sean Jeating; Good Point!:)
Kindest Regards