Turkish Citizens Sign Petition Against Denialist Exhibit in Denmark

ISTANBUL, Turkey (A.W.)–In response to official statements that the Royal Library of Denmark has agreed “to balance” an Armenian Genocide exhibition by allowing the Turkish government to mount its own “alternative” exhibit, a group of Turkish citizens–including academics, writers, former members of parliament, and mayors–have signed an open letter to the Royal Library, which follows, in full. (For a news report from Denmark on the matter, click here. For a powerful piece on the subject penned by the head of the Danish Institute for International Studies’ Holocaust and Genocide Research Unit, click here.)

The Royal Library of Denmark
The Royal Library of Denmark

Don’t Stand Against Turkey’s Democratization and Confrontation with its History!

The individuals whose signatures appear below have been distressed to learn that the Royal Library of Denmark has given the Turkish government the opportunity to present an “alternative exhibit” in response to the Armenian Genocide exhibition.

It is incorrect to suggest that two different views of what happened in 1915 are possible. Over 1 million Ottoman-Armenian citizens were forced out of their homes and annihilated in furtherance of an intentional state policy. What exists today is nothing other than the blatant denial of this reality by the Turkish government.

An honest reckoning with history is the non-negotiable precondition of a true democracy. The Turkish government has been suppressing historic truths and following a policy of denial for more than 90 years. In response to the many intellectuals in the nation who have urged the government to confront history honestly, this systematic suppression and intimidation policy, which reached its zenith with the assassination of journalist Hrant Dink in 2007, continues unabated. The European Court of Human Rights has ruled in several cases on this subject against Turkey’s position and actions.

By giving the Turkish government the opportunity to present an “alternative exhibit,” you support their policy of suppression and intimidation. The support that you are extending to a regime that has made opposition to confronting history and denial of the truth a fundamental principle is equivalent to supporting a regime of apartheid. We want to remind you that your support constitutes an obstacle to democratization efforts in Turkey today.

There is a regional aspect of this policy also. Peace, democracy, and stability in the Middle East will only come about through regimes that are willing to confront history honestly. Through its position of denying historical truths, Turkey represents an obstacle to the development of peace, democracy, and stability in the Middle East. We, citizens fighting for a democratic Turkey, urge you to reconsider your decision to grant the Turkish government the opportunity to present an “alternative exhibit” and withdraw the offer immediately, and we invite you to join and support the democratic civil initiatives demanding that Turkey confront its history honestly.

Fikret Adanır (professor of history), Taner Akçam (professor of history), Ayhan Aktar (professor of sociology), Cengiz Aktar (professor of political science), Cengiz Algan (the DurDe civic initiative), Ahmet Altan (chief editor, Taraf newspaper), Maya Arakon (professor of political science), Oya Baydar (writer), Yavuz Baydar (columnist, Todays Zaman newspaper), Osman Baydemir (mayor of Diyarbakır), Murat Belge  (professor of litterature), Halil Berktay (professor of history), İsmail Beşikçi (professor of sociology), Hamit Bozaslan (professor of political science), İpek Çalışlar (writer), Oral Çalışlar (columnist, Radikal newspaper), Aydın Engin (founding Editor T24 webnews), Fatma Müge Göçek (professor of sociology), Nilüfer Göle (professor of sociology), İştar Gözaydın (professor of law and politics), Gençay Gürsoy (professor of medicine) Ayşe Hür (historian, columnist Radical newspaper), Ahmet İnsel (professor of economics), Ayşe Kadıoğlu (professor of political science), Gülten Kaya (music producer), Ümit Kıvanç (writer), Ömer Laçiner (chief editor, Birikim Review), Roni Margulies (poet), Baskın Oran (professor of political science), Cem Özdemir (co-chair, German Green Party), Esra Mungan (professor of psychology), Sırrı Sakık (MP), Betül Tanbay (professor of mathematics), Zeynep Tanbay (choreographer), Turgut Tarhanlı (professor of international law), Ufuk Uras (former MP), Şanar Yurdatapan (Initiative for Freedom of Expression).

19 Comments

  1. In our long journey for justice, it is critical to always look for opportunity in darkness. At face value, the “alternative” response is disgusting for all the reasons we believe. Denying the truth or supporting such behavior is despicable. But in the midst of such frustration, we witness hope. Turkish professionals stand up for the truth. I believe their comments not only support justice for Armenians, but speaks for a better Turkey. Ironically, although they will be criticized by the neo-Ottomans and Kemalists, they are the real patriots…. Working to help Turkey accept its history. Their courage shows that , in the end,all attempts to deny Armenians justice will fail.

    • When Turks put up a counter argument, they are exposing their campaign of denial for the world to see—this gives us further opportunity to set the record straight. As despicable as it is, I welcome Turks to show us their full arsenal of distortion. Let them put it all out on the table. Their deceit will become clear. The evidence is irrefutable, but we must be prepared to answer every lie with facts.

      Bravo to Turks who stand courageously for truth even if only because they seek full democratic reform in their society. The better for us. I am grateful to them.

  2. We are all grand-children of genocided* grandfathers…
    There is no Armenian without genocide history …
    If thee says no
    Thus he is not Armenian…
    World populace should know this…!!!

    Sylva-MD-Poetry
    __________________________

    *If I introduced word ‘Genocided’ In my glossary of terms (neologism)
    July since 2007
    Example Krikor Zohrab (1861- gnocided 24, 1915) to say he was Killed
    due to genocide …Not like Hrant Dink …

  3. The majority of Turkish intellectuals, citizens and the civilized countries will never deny the cruelties and the massacre of 1.1/2 million Armenians (Genocide). I don’t understand why the rulers of Denmark are biasing?

    • These so-called “Turkish” intellectuals are Communists, Marxists and Socialists. Taner Akcam was a member of an organization called Dev-Yol. Ayse Gunaysu, Eren Keskin, Orhan Pamuk and other likewise so-called intellectuals are Marxists and Socialists if you ask me. Their goal is to annex Turkey to the Neo-Nazi Marxist EUSSR where Turkey looses it’s economic and political soveirgnty, as well as citizens in Turkey get taxed to death whether rich, or poor. That is why the EUSSR is going to an economic collapse. Because it is another version of the Soviet Union if you ask me.

  4. Just a reminder that there are honorable and just Turks. And we Armenians do need these reminders as its easy to lump all of them in the same denialist -genocidal group.

  5. Boyajian
    “”I welcome Turks to show us their full arsenal of distortion. Let them put it all out on the table. Their deceit will become clear. “”

    Tell your above statement to the editors of Armenian weekly so they may stop sending my posts to the dustbin

    • Hey turk,
      Maybe if you said something intelligent and accurate for a change they wouldn’t toss your comments? Just sayin.

    • John the Turk, old denialist buddy:

      do you actually expect ArmenianWeekly to provide you a platform to disseminate the same denialist hallucinations you fill the Comment pages
      of TZ with ? Under almost every article that has anything to do with Armenians ?

      AW gives you more than enough space to vent your Anti Armenian warped views. They don’t owe you anything. It is called ArmenianWeekly, not TurkishDenialistWeekly.

      I wouldn’t expect TZ to publish my comments if I wrote anything mildly insulting to Mutstafa Kemal. And he was only an imperfect mortal. And I am being very, very charitable calling him an ‘imperfect mortal’.

  6. Why are the Turkish people and government not listening to their intellectuals ? Instead they are listening to a President, who only three days ago on a speech at Konya expressed that he wanted the Turkish young generation to be like the Turks of 1071 !

  7. The president represents a faction of Turkish society which glorifies their imperial past complete with amnesia for the dark chapters. They substitute myths of greatness for an honest appraisal of their faults and will let no enlightenment from the intellectual faction stand in the way of their self-congratulations. Without truth, there can be no democracy and no path to true greatness.

  8. Those who signed this petition realize that there is nothing to be gained for Turkey by continued denial, only shame. As for the Turks of 1071, they need to be reminded that by 1171, these warrior’s children were all half-Armenian!

  9. I add, the worse nations in Muslims are Turks and Kurds who jointly
    massacred us and forcefully converted our people to Islam. This will never be forgotten or forgiven even by forthcoming generations.

    • M.S.K.
      True, the Kurds try to sympathize with us but yet they perpetrated the killings as much as the Turks. But, Turks were the deliberate masterminds, however Kurds were simply stupid. Imagin, whey they never had a country??
      Because they backstabbed everyone around them and never found friends who would want them as neighbors.
      And even worse, they cooperated with their own enemy, Turks who are now hrassing them everyday and opresses against them.
      Kurds are claiming to be the rightful owners of eastern Armenia. That is just not going to happen.

  10. The director of the Royal Library has allowed Turkey to spread their anti-Armenian propaganda and we need to also contact the Danish embassy and consulates and complain too.

  11. The Turkish government will do anything to deny the truth. They are paniced and like a cornered cat will through random claws. They are desparate and have taken many measures to counteract the one voice all Armenians have had for decades. The Turkish ultranationals created many versionas to explain their history. They made a career out of denial and deciet. Turkish loyal polititions grew up learning what they were taught by their schools and government. Their natioalism, denial, and in many cases anti-Armenian sentiment are all expected reactions to keep the threat of accountability down. They are Turks, and they are muslims, and can’t see their ancestors less than great and the killer merderous turks who killed innocent Armenians starting from intellectuals. Their love of Ataturk is so much that like a suicide bomber in Palastine they will go out of their way to lie, and cover for him.
    Germans have washed their hands for crimes that happened decades after Armenian genicode, but yet Turkish polititions are desparately persistant to maintain their composure and their pride.

    And for Denmark, I guess their Armenian genocide exhibit wasn’t granted permition for their humanitarian cause. The Turkish exhibit proves they are open to deniaslists as well. That shows how Turks look for weaknesses in western system to advocate their stories. And scarry part is there are buyers for that.

    But, the world knows we have diaspora. And any smart person would take that into consideration before considering the Turkish politions piece of junk. Therefore, with any of these little successes Turkey achieves they will have to remain in the state of Alert. They will have to desparately look more to catch up with our footsteps, because We Armenians will keep up with our fight.

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