Monday, October 10, 2011

Why Turkey Can't Admit to Its Armenian Genocide: The Crucial Reason!

Ahmet Davutoğlu
Foreign Minister of Turkey

In an article in Sunday's Zaman, "Sarkozy insists: Turkey not part of EU" (October 7, 2011), the outspoken French president, Nicholas Sarkozy, is reported as stating a blunt opinion about Turkey's responsibility for the Armenian genocide:
During his visit to Armenia, Sarkozy . . . urged Turkey to recognize the 1915 killings of Armenians as genocide, threatening to pass a law in France that would make denying this a crime. "The Armenian genocide is a historical reality. Collective denial is even worse than individual denial," Sarkozy told reporters. "Turkey, which is a great country, would honor itself to revisit its history like other great countries in the world have done."
Turkey was not especially pleased by Sarkozy's outspoken remarks, and Turkey's Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu offered a stiff rejoinder
Turkey, in response, said France should confront its colonial past before giving lessons to others on how to face history. "Those who will not be able to face their own history for having carried out colonialism for centuries, for treating foreigners as second-class people, do not have the right to teach Turkey a history lesson or call for Turkey to face its history," Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu told reporters on Friday.
Ah, I now see why Turkey cannot own up to the Armenian genocide. Having carried out colonialism for centuries in the Middle East, North Africa, and the Balkans, Turkey has no right to teach itself a history lesson!

Who knew that history was so difficult to pursue, so demanding of purity among its practitioners, so discriminating in its moral scruples that we are all unworthy to teach true history?

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At 6:22 AM, Anonymous erdal said...

There's even a deeper irony here: Kemal's Turkey made a sharp break with the past - up to the point that at the time Mr. Davutoğlu attended school and university, knowledge of anything before Atatürk was not taught, sometimes actively suppressed when sought.

The result is that most people in Turkey older than 35, 40 or so have no knowledge of their own (i.e. the Ottoman's) colonial past. For them, local history began with myths of a distant Pan-Turkish Asian past, then follows a gap of 1000 years, and the next thing they were taught was Kemal fighting (1919) the colonial powers England, France, Russia, Italy, Greece and Armenia.

Only after Özal was this pattern somewhat relaxed, and only after Davutoğlu's party gained power (in its earlier incarnation under Erbakan) was the Ottoman past accepted (even sought) as part of Turkey's history.

At 6:32 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Thanks, Erdal, you're always a dependable source of solid information.

One positive point in the "myths of a distant Pan-Turkish Asian past" is that pre-Islamic history has validity for Turks, so not everything before 'reversion' to Islam was jahiliyya.

But there is also that downside that you note . . .

Jeffery Hodges

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