Monday, August 27, 2007
Time to say new things on the ‘genocide’ issue
Time to say new things on the ‘genocide’ issue, by Ömer Taspinar
The Anti Defamation League’s recent decision to acknowledge that the Armenian “massacres” of 1915 were tantamount to “genocide” has created a political storm in Turkey. Seen from Washington, such Turkish resentment is counterproductive. It only confirms the fact that Turkey needs to come to terms with its own history. When you have prominent leaders of the Turkish Jewish community writing letters to the ADL reminding them that the Turkish Jewish community’s well-being is jeopardized, this does not exactly come across as a ringing endorsement of Turkey’s democratic maturity.
What the Turkish body politic and public opinion fail to understand is that the genocide issue is already a lost battle in the West. This battle is lost partly because of Turkey’s own behavior and stern, uncompromising image. The official Turkish narrative on the question of “genocide” displays all the symptoms of an authoritarian state that has created a taboo. The education system, nationalist press and bureaucratic reflex are all symptomatic of a totalitarian way of thinking where even a slight departure from the official line creates mayhem. How else can one explain efforts to undermine academic conferences on this issue, or the disgraceful treatment of Orhan Pamuk by most of the nationalist press after he was awarded the Nobel Prize?
Read the full story here.