Turkish Citizens Sign Petition Against Denialist Exhibit in Denmark

The Dutch Royal Library

ISTANBUL (Armenian Weekly)—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

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).

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11 Comments

  1. Tsoghig said:

    Thank you to all the Turks that are not afraid to stand by the truth, no matter what the cost.

  2. kevork said:

    the turkish response to the Armenian genocide is to blame the victims by using distractions and distortions,they are trying to get away with murder,they are very aware that THE ARMENIAN GENOCIDE WAS PLANNED BY THEIR ANCESTORS THE WHOLE WORLD KNOWS ALSO MANY, MANY TURKS KNOW THAT THE GENOCIDE WAS ORGANIZED BY THE TURKISH LEADERS AND GOVERNMENT, BY MURDERING THE ARMENIANS,STEALING THEIR CHILDREN,WOMEN ,LAND,WEALTH AND DESTROYING THEIR CHURCHS ECT. TURKEY WILL NEVER BE ALLOWED TO GET AWAY WITH WHOLESALE SLAUGHTER. IT IS TIME FOR TURKEY TO JOIN THE CIVILIZED WORLD AND RECOGNIZE THE ARMENIAN GENOCIDE AS A TRUE FACT.

  3. Garen Mailyan said:

    Beautiful. There is quality in Turkish nation that can save Turkish honor for eternity to come!

  4. Jimbo Jones said:

    Those signatories are ignorant. Because one, their goal is to sell out Turkey to be controlled by the High-Tax Communist EUSSR when the Right-Wingers in Europe think Muslims are lower then apes and pigs. Two, they are ignorant thinking these recognizing one-sided “genocide allegations” will help Turkey normalize relation’s with it’s neighbors, when infact the “genocide allegations war” and the “war by the PKK terrorists” are just trying to form a Tsunami to brake up Turkey’s borders. These PKK terrorists and racist Genocide peddlers want to wipe off Turkey and they know it. This art exhibition by Turkish diasporan activists should not be silenced and free speech and 1st amendment rights should not be supressed. Also, don’t hypocritically squeal about 301, because I think that should be repealed too, as well.

  5. George said:

    Civilized countries not as Civilized they pretend to be, when values are sold for money $$$$$ including a Civilized country like Denmark, the world has a big problem. How can Denmark explain from where 8 million diaspora Armenians came from. Why not Royal Library of Denmark agree “to open an exhibition to balance” Jewish Holocaust by allowing the Iran’s government of Ahmadinijad to mount its own “alternative” exhibit. what a shame, again and again $$$$$$$$$$$$$$ talk, THE WESTERN WORLD OWES ARMENIAN?S RECOGNOTION AND APOLOGY FOR NOT ACTING DURING AND AFTER THE GENOCIDE, if they don’t want to have the stain of complicity for the rest of the times.

  6. Vahe Balabanian said:

    The Turkish leaders are in continous denial regarding the role of their ancestors in the genocide of the Armenians living in Turkey. Fortunately not all Turks are listening to the state propaganda. Finally we see the green shoots of democracy taking hold in Turkey. Many many more Turks will follow them because their conscience will dictate their behavouir once they come face to face with the truth. The day Armenians and Turks embrace each other will be a historic and a beautiful day.

  7. Mehmet Nguyen said:

    I wonder what these signatories will do next? Convert to Orthodox Christianity and change their names to Armen, Levon, Shant, Krikor, or Harut and move to Glendale, California.

    • Zareh said:

      Dear Mehmet, to accept the to face the truth does not mean you change or lose your identity but bring back honor on your nation. Let’s hope you learn from your honorable brothers and sisters.

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