At a meeting in the Academic Council of Yerevan State University, Professor from Clark University, a well-known Turkish historian Taner Akçam met the students and teachers of the Department of Turkology of YSU. The meeting was organized by the Faculty of Oriental Studies of YSU.
During the meeting, Professor Akçam gave a lecture titled “Facts, Truth, Turkish Negative Policy on the Armenian Genocide”.
In the opening speech, the dean of the Faculty of Oriental Studies Ruben Melkonyan noted that YSU is honored by the arrival of one of the few historians who have deeply researched the Armenian Genocide of 1915.
“Mr. Akcam is one of the founders of alternative historiography that goes beyond the official version of Turkish history and that represents reality. In the 1970s, he was the leader of the radical movement in Turkey. Mr. Akcam was convicted but managed to escape imprisonment. Subsequently, he became a famous historian,” said Ruben Melkonyan.
During the lecture, Taner Akçam presented the historical facts about the Armenian Genocide, the arrests of the representatives of the Armenian intelligentsia, the exile of Armenian writers, and also presented some documents from various archives.
According to Professor Akçam, the policy of the Genocide’s denial is, in fact, denial of truth supported by the Turkish government.
“Today, we face a big philosophical problem in history. The truth plays an important role, but who and on the basis of which documents establishes this truth? The political power of Turkey has created its own truth for itself. However, the establishment of the “true” truth causes serious scientific wars,” remarked the historian and added that the basis of Turkish politics has always been the policy of denial.
“The main difference between the Armenian Genocide and the Holocaust is that the Holocaust has been recognized, which cannot be said about the Armenian Genocide,” said Professor Akçam and added that the Armenian Genocide is a fact proven in the academic environment and covered by many scientific works.
“The denial policy of the Turkish government today is so weak that academic works could easily counter it, but this requires a huge amount of work on this topic. The Turkish government should view academic research as a starting point, but this does not happen. We must work hard. The policy of denial is fueled by the government of Turkey, and the number of academic works is not enough for the recognition of the Armenian Genocide,” said the historian.
According to him, today, it is impossible to find any document in the Turkish archives that would contain true information about the Armenian Genocide. “A lot of documents relating to the events of 1915 were destroyed by the government,” added Professor Akçam.
At the end of the meeting, the historian told the audience, “Believe me, what I do isn’t a great deed. I just represent the truth and I am ashamed of the country I was born in. Because it hides the truth. It is a pity that you thank a man who is merely talking about the true facts of the Armenian Genocide.”
Professor Taner Akçam answered the students’ questions, and Professor from the Faculty of Oriental Studies Gurgen Melikyan presented him with an Artsakh carpet.