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Saturday, 22 October 2016


Armenian deportations with fatal outcome

2012-04-25 13:11

Turkish criminal law includes special article №301. Under this article, those who offend either orally or in printed form the identity of the Turkish nation or the basis of the Turkish state, are punishable. The mentioning of the genocide of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire qualifies in Turkey as a crime under article №301. But if earlier the "offenders" were to be put in prison, now they are to be censured. Erdogan himself is interested in the taboo topic of the Armenian Genocide. At the same time, he is not in a hurry with his public recognition.


Turkish historiography vaguely names the mass extermination of the Armenians by the Young Turk government forced mass deportations with cases of deaths. Calling these deportations genocide is not only historically incorrect, but also criminal. The public mention of the "Armenian genocide" in the Turkish Republic is an insult to the Turkish nation and is punishable under article 301 of the Criminal Code.

Until recently, all Turkish citizens, who dared to break these taboos, could be punished under article 301 and could get a prison term. Academic elites and journalists used to avoid the Armenian theme, because it could put an end to their future careers. Turkish scholar Taner Akcam has recently said that he was the first Turkish historian who openly spoke about the forbidden subject of extermination of the Armenians. Documents on the Armenian Genocide are stored in the archives of Istanbul and Ankara. At the same time, Turkish scholars have no access to the archives in Ankara. Studying material in partially open archives of Istanbul is fraught with lengthy interrogations in the security service and the possible prosecution. Akcam lives as a political refugee in Germany from 1978, where he was forced to emigrate immediately after the start of prosecution against him for the notorious "insulting the Turkish nation".

Clear position on the Armenian Genocide was the cause of the murder of Turkish journalist Hrant Dink. Editor in chief of the Turkish-Armenian newspaper "Agos" was killed January 19, 2007, as a result of a planned terrorist attack. During his life Dink has repeatedly been charged under article 301 of Turkish Criminal Code. After Hrant Dink's family filed a claim against Turkey to the European Court of Human Rights, Ankara sent to this court protective speech, in which it had compared the slain journalist with the Nazis. But after the scandal broke the speech was withdrawn, and the Turkish FM Davutoglu said that he had not personally coordinated the text of the speech.

The contours of Erdogan's Turkey are becoming more Islamic. Attitude to many issues, which until recently were taboo, began to change in parallel with this. In particular, the issue of the Armenian Genocide. The Turks are trying to show the Armenians that they are not enemies. In 2012, Turkey gave the Armenians a school under Istanbul's Armenian Church of Gregory the Illuminator, Armenian cemetery, and property of the "Holy Cross Dprevank" fund. All this property was taken away from the Armenians during the events of 1915-1923. In the Turkish media this fact, as well as the purchase of the book "The Turks and Armenians" by Recep Erdogan, appeared as "consecutive steps for convergence". However, after each such step they make two or three steps back. Article 301 has not yet been canceled. In addition, Turkey is spending significant means for funding the international strategy of denying the Armenian Genocide. "We did not commit this crime; we have nothing to apologize for. If someone feels guilty, he can apologize. However, the Republic of Turkey, the Turkish nation has no such problems", Erdogan said in 2008. The fact is that from a legal point of view, Erdogan is largely right.

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