By Taner Akçam

The homicide of multiple million Armenians by way of the Ottoman Turkish govt in 1915 has been stated as genocide. but nearly a hundred years later, those crimes stay unrecognized through the Turkish country. This ebook is the 1st try out by way of a Turk to appreciate the genocide from a perpetrator's, instead of victim's, standpoint, and to contextualize the occasions of 1915 inside Turkey's political background and western neighborhood guidelines. Turkey this present day is in the course of a tumultuous transition. it truly is rising from its Ottoman legacy and on its strategy to reputation by means of the west as an ordinary state kingdom. yet until eventually it confronts its previous and current violations of human rights, it's going to by no means be a really democratic country. This ebook explores the assets of the Armenian genocide, how Turks this day view it, the meanings of Turkish and Armenian id, and the way the lengthy legacy of western intervention within the zone has suppressed reform, instead of promoted democracy.

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The second option continues to be favored among Turkish elites, either as a hidden or an expressed desire. The ruling elites—and first and foremost among them, the military, who up to now have avoided making the reforms that would be eventually necessary for entry into the European Union—have frequently expressed demands along these lines through the far-right MHP. Indeed, claims that Turkey needs to face east and to form an alliance with powerful states that will emerge in the East in order to confront the West have begun to be voiced with increasing frequency.

This turmoil requires Turkey to redefine itself and its role in the region. Either it will react according to its traditional fears, seeing its existence threatened, especially with the reopening of the border question, and will oppose every change in the region vehemently—this would entail a hardening of the authoritarian bureaucratic state tradition—or Turkey will redefine itself through a democratization process and can then play a leading role in the democratization of the region. The Turkish reaction against the US-led war in Iraq is an example of this authoritarian approach.

NOTES 1. , 1999), p. 164. 2. Other statements by Erdo˘gan include his reference to democracy as ‘the means, not the way (Amaç de˘gil, araç) and the proclamation ‘Allah be praised, I’m a Shari’a advocate’ (Elhamdülillah S¸ eriâtçıyım). He also recited a poem by the Turkish nationalist theoretician Ziya Gökalp to a crowd, a poem in which the poet likens the domes of mosques to helmets, their minarets to spears. One columnist described Erdo˘gan’s utterances as remaining in his memory like naked photographs of a famous movie star that were taken before the star became famous.

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