First Conference on the Armenian Issue Organized in Turkey

ISTANBUL–Marking the first time the Armenian issue is discussed by Turkish scholars at an academic gathering–the upcoming conference–"Ottoman Armenia’s during the Decline of the Empire: Issues of Scientific Responsibility and Democracy," will take place May 25-27 at Bogazii University. Organized by the Comparative Literature Department of Bilgi University–the History Department of Bogazii University–and the History Program at Sabanci University–the conference participants will solely include Turkish scholars; as a result–it will be conducted entirely in Turkish. Only an invited group of people will be able to attend the conference because of limited space and the vast interest expressed.

The conference schedule contains more than thirty papers to be delivered at ten sessions–a number of panels–and a round table discussion. The organizers of the conference noted that they have been unable to include many valuable suggestions because of the large number of interested participants and the need to contain all the proceedings in three days.

According to organizers–the time has come–ninety years after 1915–that "this tragic event in the history of our country–for Turkey’s own academics and intellectuals to collectively raise their voices that differ from that of the official [state] theses and put forth their own contributions. Turkish society that has grown–differentiated within itself–and opened to the world has accumulated both qualitatively and quantitatively an impressive amount of independent and critical thought." They also noted–"This accumulation already covers a rather large spectrum–achieves breadth and depth along the intellectual circles of historians–social scientists–writers–publishers–lawyers–journalists and independent intellectuals–and now wants to make its own voice heard and thus come of age as an intellectual generation with its own free and autonomous ideas."

The conference organizers expressed that the academic gathering is not solely a responsibility in reference to scientific truth or world citizenship–but also a responsibility toward their country–society–and democracy. They said it is Turkey that would benefit the most from the emergence of different–critical–and alternative voices.

Speakers include Halil Berktay–Taner Akam–Selim Deringil–Osman Kker–Fikret Adanir–Nazan Maksudyan–Edhem Eldem–Meltem Toksz–Rober Koptas–Sarkis Seropyan–and Hrant Dink–among others. Topics will include: "Archives and the Armenian Question: ‘Grabbing the Document by the Throat’"; "Armenian Problem from the Viewpoint of Democracy"; "Armenian Presence in the Ottoman State before the Deportation"Massacre–Genocide and the Historical Profession"; "The 1915-1916 Events according to the 20th century and world historians"; "Armenia’s of Adana and the 1909 ‘Disturbance’"; "The Unionist-Tashnak Negotiations and the 1914 Armenian Reform from the pens of Krikor Zohrab–Vahan Papazyan and Karekin Pastirmaciyan"; "The Intent and Organization of Genocide–with the survivors and the destroyed–among the leaders of the Union and Progress in light of Ottoman documen’s"; and "What Can Be Done to Reinstitute Turkish-Armenian Friendship?"

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