INSTITUTE FOR ARMENIAN STUDIES IN ANKARA
In summer 2001 in Ankara was founded the Institute for Armenian Studies Organization. It works in cooperation with Turkey’s “Eurasian” Center for Strategic Studies. The latter one is one of the biggest centers in Turkey carrying out strategic researches. According to some information the structure is patronized by the Turkish “Nationalist Movement” Party (MHP).
The structure is located at 550, 61 Konrad Adenauer Street, in Ankara’s Cankaya district. In the very district is located the President of Turkey’s office. It is quite ridiculous that the organization spreading denial is located in the Avenue after Konrad Adenauer, which, as it is known, set the policy of “confronting” and “confessing” fascist crimes in post-war Germany.
In 2002 and 2004 the structure has organized a Congress on Armenian Studies. The structure also has a working library on the subject of the Armenian Question which has French, English, German, Russian, Amenian and Turkish literature. It has also a video archive on the subject. In summer months in the institute is organized working practice of Turkish students.
The structure is presently headed by Omer Engin Lyutem.
Although the structure is called the Institute for Armenian Studies, however, by its functions it doesn’t completely coincide with its name. One can not even speak about objective researches on the subjects of Armenian civilization, culture and history. The structure is mainly engaged in carrying out works of denying character in the issue of the Armenian Genocide and conducts researches to reveal propagandistic, social-political activities and economic capabilities of the Armenian Diaspora. As it is mentioned in the organization’s site “The institute has an objective to embrace the issue taking into consideration historical, psychological, legal and international elements of the Armenian Question.”
In 2007 the structure published the work “The Armenian Question: main data and documents” where are presented the Turkish and American “historians’” articles of denying character referring to the “Great Genocide.” In particular Justin McCarty presented the articles “Armenian rebellions and Ottomans” and “Let historians judge.” There is also a page on the subject of the NKR conflict, where one can read the work by Omer Lyutem “Nagorno-Karabakh issue.”
It is noteworthy that since the time the structure has been functioning there was a short period when an attempt was made to refuse “radical denying” policy and not to limit the researches on the Armenian subjects by mere denial. In 2003-2004 the organization was headed by Hasan Oktay, who, according to some information, made an attempt to make some corrections in that extremist approach. On August 2004 Oktay came to Yerevan and visited the monument to the victims of the Armenian Genocide and the Genocide Museum. During the meetings he was speaking in favor of certain liberation in Turkey. Under the leadership of Oktay the research institute organized the Second Congress of Armenian Studies, where, together with works of mere denying character, were also voiced reports relating to other periods of the Armenian history, in particular, early medieval period.
According to the information at hand, Oktay’s liberal approaches caused serious discontent among Turkish extremists; the relations between the Institute for Armenian Studies and Turke’s Historical institute became tense. Three months after he has returned from Armenia, at the end of 2004, Hasan Oktay was dismissed.
Hasan Oktay’s name can not be put in the same rank together with Turkish intellectuals and human rights advocates with liberal ideas– Halil Berktay, Elda Ozjan, Orhan Pamuk etc. Oktan just had more moderate approaches and was aspiring not to appear among the oppositionists and work with governmental circles to ensure liberalism of certain extent to the Armenian Question. Oktay failed in his efforts because of striking discrepancy with officials with tough and extremist approaches.
It is also noteworthy the page of the Institute’s site where one can find information on the Armenian subject-matter in other Turkish publications. In particular here are represented the studies on “Turkish facts against Armenian confirmations” published by Turkish Great National Assembly which was made ready for publication by the head of the Department of Armenian Studies of Turkish Historians Union Hikmet Ozdemir. The General Directorate of State Archives has published “Armenian-American relations in Ottoman documents” two-volume edition, the state administration of Bitlis - volumes about “massacres” allegedly perpetrated by Armenians in Bitlis against Turks and Eldar Ilter – the book “Great treachery: Armenian Church and terrorism.” In reality it is the republished version of Ilter’s book “Armenian Church and terrorism” published in 1997. Ilter is well known by his extremism. According to him, in the above mentioned work the Armenian party massacred for about 2,5 million Turks. Ilter doesn’t detail how such a limited number of Armenian units located in limited territories could perpetrate such a hideous massacre, if, putting aside the historical part of the story, it was not even possible mere technical realization of it. In the site one can also get information about English language editions published in the US and Turkey, such as the work “Armenian rebellions in Van” published by the University of the US Utah State. The authors of the work are “American representatives” of Turkish denial Justin McCarty and a group of Turkish Authors – Esat Arslan, Jemaletin Tashqra, and Omer Tura. In the site is also represented the work of another American “denier” Hyunter Levi titled “Armenian massacres perpetrated in the Ottoman Turkey.”
Special attention is to be devoted to the Armenian language manual “I learn English” published in Ankara in 2007 by Birsen Karajan. According to the site, it is the first manual of Eastern Armenian published in Turkey. It consists of 160 pages and 18 separate lessons. It is also noteworthy the “Eastern Armenian-Turkish” dictionary published by the very Birsen Karajan. It consists of 372 pages.
It is to be mentioned that the Armenian party has some privileges over Turkey today, as for the last decades Turkology has been developed in Armenia and at present there are some specialists working in the mentioned direction. However, in Turkey Armenology has not been developed. Publication of the mentioned books, rising interest to Eastern Armenians and involving of the Armenian language into Turkish higher educational system have come to prove that Ankara aspires at filling up the gap.
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