WORCESTER – The following is a statement by Armenian Genocide scholar Taner Akçam, holder of the Robert Aram, Marianne Kaloosdian and Stephen and Marian Mugar Chair in Armenian Genocide Studies at Clark University, in connection with the recent step of the Turkish government to create a special body to deal with the Armenian Genocide issue. It is followed by the translation into English of an article on this step.
Akçam told the Mirror: “My statement is not about how to analyze the Turkish government’s initiative. My statement is only an effort to use Turkey’s attempt to underline a basic problem related to Armenian Genocide research here in the USA. Why Turkey is doing this is another very serious question.”
Statement of Taner Akçam on the Recent Decision of Turkish Government
According to a report in the June 23, 2020 edition of the Turkish Hürriyet daily, Turkey has taken the decision to establish “a new autonomous and civil institution” in order “to respond to the accusations of genocide and to develop a strategy [to counter them].” The decision was taken at the 5-hour meeting of the President’s High Advisory Board on June 16, 2020.
At the meeting it was determined that Turkey’s principal failing in this regard was that it did not possess a single institution to deal directly with the Armenian claims and develop a [counter-argument] and strategy” and that it “had not developed a comprehensive strategy.” Therefore, it was decided to form a new institution to address this shortcoming.
The “sole task” of this new organization would be to “view the various dimensions of the topic—such culture, history, propaganda, and law, not merely politics—as a whole.” Additionally, as part of the decision it was also stated that “the institution would be an autonomous and civil [society] initiative without direct connection to the government or state.”