Monday, December 8, 2008

Speaking Out About 1915

From The Guardian:
Academics and writers in Turkey have risked a fierce official backlash by issuing a public apology for the alleged genocide suffered by Armenians at the hands of Ottoman forces during the first world war.

Breaking one of Turkish society's biggest taboos, the apology comes in an open letter that invites Turks to sign an online petition supporting its sentiments.

It reads: "My conscience does not accept the insensitivity showed to and the denial of the Great Catastrophe that the Ottoman Armenians were subjected to in 1915. I reject this injustice and for my share, I empathise with the feelings and pain of my Armenian brothers. I apologise to them."

The contents expose its authors - three scholars, Ahmet Insel, Baskin Oran and Cengiz Aktar, and a journalist, Ali Bayramoglu - to the wrath of the Turkish state, which has prosecuted writers, including the Nobel prize-winning novelist Orhan Pamuk, for supporting Armenian genocide claims.
Bianet quotes further from the letter:
“What happened to the Armenians is not well-known; people are forced to forget it, and the subject is highly provocative. The Turks have heard this mostly from their elders, their grandfathers. But, the subject has not become an objective historical narrative. Therefore, today many people in Turkey, with all the good intentions, think that nothing happened to the Armenians .”

“The official history has been saying that this incident happened through secondary, not very important, and even mutual massacres; they push the idea that it was an ordinary incident explainable by the conditions of the First World War. However, unfortunately, the facts are very different. Perhaps there is only one fact and it is that the Kurds and Turks are still here, but the Armenians are not. The subject of this campaign is the individuals. This is a voice coming from the individual’s conscience. Those who want to apologize can apologize, and those who do not should not.”
Turkish writers and academics have long been targeted by zealous prosecutors for various statements made in connection with the 1915 massacres. In September, Ahmet Altan was targeted for an article entitled "Oh Brother" in Armenian. Another recent case involves Temel Demirer, in whose case Justice Minister Mehmet Ali Şahin said, “I cannot let someone call my state “murderer”. This is not freedom of expression. This is exactly what the crime of insulting the person of the state is.” Under new legal requirements for prosecution under Article 301, Turkey's most infamous legal restriction on freedom of expression among many, Şahin authorized Demirer's prosecution, virtually declaring him guilty. In June, Ragıp Zarakolu became the first convicted under the revamped law.

1 comment:

meryem said...

Ragan,sincerely l can say that Turks didn't massacre,besides one person who read Ottoman History and know character of Turks that don't accept the massacre,because the history tells the facts.we manifest to our past history and don't encounter any massacre against Armenians.Some elder Armenian citizens who live in different cities of Turkey sayid that ''Turks didn't massacre''.Yes,we know that apologize from done but never didn't do.because the situation is insult for Turks.the human dies but his reputation lives.Hide the truth and force is not fair although even join to the EU.