Saturday, October 20, 2007

The academic side of the issue

Earlier this week an excellent article appeared on Inside Higher Ed. It focuses on the area where the Turkish side would like to see the debate about whether there actually was an Armenian genocide move to, namely that of historians and academic scholars, not that of parliaments and politicians. The "problem" is, that among scholars there is no longer really a discussion about whether it actually was a genocide:

So many experts in the field say that the debate over genocide is settled, and that credible arguments against the idea of a genocide just don't much exist. The problem, many say, is that the evidence the Turks say doesn't exist does exist, so people have moved on.[...]What's happening now [Andras Riedlmayer, a librarian of Ottoman history at Harvard University] said, outside of those trying to deny what took place, "isn't that the discussion has diminished, but that the discussion is more mature." He said that there is more research going on about how and why the killings took place, and the historical context of the time. He also said that he thought there would be more research in the works on one of "the great undiscussed issues of why successive Turkish governments over recent decades have found it worthwhile to invest so much political capital and energy into promoting that historical narrative," in which it had been "fudging" what really happened."

The full article can be found here.


mirdifderya said...

I like the most Koray Yilmaz's Comments:) Definitly very informative article.

Hans said...

Yes, informative article. What Koray wrote down is the official Turkish statements. As long as there is art 301, no one can open his or her mouth.
Asking for an independent 'committee' while you have to be careful for art 301, is of course hilarious...
Yes, the whole discussion became a geopolitical one...
I have problems with hate sites on both sides...

Tufan said...

Thanks Myrthe.

In my humble opinion, Turks and Armenians have to start a genuine discussion. Turkey started, by asking for a joint committee. But Armenia refused. Its in both interest that relations will be normalized.
This whole discussion is damaging Turkey's reputation. And damaging Armenia at large.
Most of the comments on this article are interesting. Only I feel ashamed by the screaming language of TailArmenian...

Tamar K. said...

The genocide is a fact.
But 'the fact' that we have to discus this all the time makes me weak. There are thousands of papers proved what happened.
That Turks in general are not educated in history is not an excuse to deny the crimes they comitted!

Sean Jeating said...

you made me read the article, the comments, following quite a few links, and only about four hours later I am back, ... just to say thanks. :)

mirdifderya said...

Tamar K. thats your matter of opinion! if the Genocide taken place or not. Read the article as well as the comments. There is thousands pf papers proved that it wans't.. Turks are not denying it, they were saying it wasn't Genocide.

Why the world doesn't even involed with nowadays Genocide like in Iraq and Dafur or Burma and still discussing the matter which happen 100 years ago, leave to the Historians to solve it.

Make propaganda for nowadays Genocides to be regognize and work for..

Tamar K. said...

Derya, you say that there are 'thousands pf papers proved that it wans't.. Turks are not denying it, they were saying it wasn't Genocide.'

What are you denying, why are you keeping away many archieces closed for researchs? I am not attacking you, I am attacking the Turkish state which use double standards; opening the archieves but only comment according official you call that independent?
The world condemn the genocides in Rwanda, Darfur, etc. but the problem is that Turks after 90 years of denial still can not accept what happened in their own country 90 years ago. That's what makes me sad.

Tamar K. said...

opening the archieves but only comment according official you call that independent?

Correction: opening archieves while not allowed under art 301, to give freely your opinion?

Paul said...

Any talk of a joint commission while 301 exists is an absurdity.

Meanwhile even if the objectionable parts are expunged, the legacy of it will persist for decades. The notion that a free discussion can be held with Armenia when it can't even be held domestically is nothing but a meaningless PR stunt from Erdogan trying to make it look to the world that the issue is actually progressing and that somehow the ball is now in Armenia's court when it most certainly is not.

If Armenia accepts this, it can put off recognition because it would be Armenia admitting it doesn't know if it was genocide or not. If Armenia refuses Turkey can use it as propaganda- just like Derya has fallen for- that Turkey is ready to talk about it while Armenia is not and that it is Armenia trying to hide something.

I must give Erdogan credit for finally coming up with a creative way of dealing with this situation which results in a lose-lose situation for Armenia, as opposed to the idiotic way all past Turkish administrations dealth with it. That doesn't make this any less a dispicable deception though.