Studies Conducted in Türkiye Against Armenian ClaimsRecep Karacakaya
Armenians have taken on great propaganda activities since the 1920s to prove that they have been subjected to a genocide. They have written many boks, published many articles in scientific journals, and continue to do so. While only Armenians initially produced works on the subject, researchers from many different countries around the world are seen to have recently begun writing on the subject. The number of studies carried out in Türkiye against Armenian claims are insufficiently low. The situation becomes clear when comparing the number of centers and institutes working on the subject in the world to those in Türkiye. Also a large gap exist between the number of the publications on the matter in and outside of Türkiye. Although in Türkiye the number of the publications had continued to increase until the early 2000s, then stagnated in 2008 with a relative increase in 2015 until starting to decrease again. This article examines the publications in Türkiye from 2008-2023 against Armenian claims. Previous studies on the subject, reveal Works in great detail until 2008. However, these do not include postgraduate dissertations conducted in Turkish universities. This article, subjects these dissertations to a general evaluation. In addition, studies that contribute to countering the Armenian claims are also taken into account, while studies that support Armenian claims have been disregarded.
Ermeni İddiaları Karşısında Türkiye’de Yapılan Çalışmalar (2008-2023)Recep Karacakaya
Ermeniler, 1920’lerden günümüze kadar yoğun bir şekilde soykırıma uğramış olduklarını kanıtlamak için büyük bir propaganda faaliyetine girişmişler, birçok kitap yazmışlar, bilimsel dergilerde çok sayıda makale yayınlamışlar ve yayınlamaya devam etmektedirler. Konuyla ilgili olarak başlarda Ermeniler yayın yaparken, son senelerde dünyanın birçok ülkesinden araştırmacıların yazmaya başladıkları gözlemlenmektedir. Türkiye’nin Ermeni iddiaları karşısındaki birikimi azdır ve yapılan çalışmalar yeterli değildir. Ermeni araştırmalarıyla ilgili, dünyada çalışan merkez ve enstitülerin sayısıyla, çıkarılan süreli yayınları, Türkiye’deki merkez ve enstitülerle, çıkarılan süreli yayınlarla karşılaştırdığımızda durum bütün netliğiyle ortaya çıkmaktadır. Türkiye’de 2000’li yılların başlarına kadar artarak devam eden çalışmaların, 2008’lerden itibaren yerinde saydığı, sadece 2015’lerde görece bir artış olduğu, sonrasında ise azalmaya başladığı yapılan yayınlardan anlaşılmaktadır. Türkiye’nin Ermeni iddialarına karşı birikimini inceleyen bu makalede 2008 yılından 2022 yılına kadar olan çalışmalar ele alınmıştır. Konuyla ilgili daha önce yapılan çalışmalarda Türkiye’nin 2008 yılına kadar birikimi oldukça ayrıntılı bir şekilde ortaya konulmuş; fakat o çalışmalarda Türkiye üniversitelerinde yapılan lisansüstü tezler yer almamıştır. Bu makalede, Türkiye’deki üniversitelerde yapılan lisansüstü tezler de değerlendirilmiştir. Ayrıca Türkiye’nin birikimine katkıda bulunan çalışmalar dikkate alınmış, Ermeni iddialarını destekleyen, soykırım tezini savunan çalışmalar dahil edilmemiştir.
Armenians have taken on great propaganda activities since the 1920s to prove that they have been subjected to a genocide. They have written many books, published many articles in scientific journals, and continue to do so. On the contrary, the number of studies made in Türkiye about this subject is very low. According to Hikmet Özdemir the number of the studies was just under 600 at the end of 2007. As a result, libraries have many more materials written by Armenians or from the Armenian perspective.
Studies made in Türkiye against Armenian claims have a long history going back to the years these claims were made. In response to the Armenian claims, the Ottoman State issued some publications based on documents and statistics about the incidents that had occurred between Turks and Armenians during World War I and translated them into foreign languages. This trend continued during both the Armistice and War of Independence periods. Although the years between the Lausanne Peace Treaty and the 1970s can be seen as an era of relief, especially during the Atatürk and İnönü periods, Türkiye remained oversensitive about these claims accusing Turks of genocide.
During the 1950s and 1960s publications against Türkiye grew significantly in the United States and Europe. Turkish officials, thinking the Armenian question to no longer be an issue, attached no importance to these developments. Between 1973-1984, the Republic of Türkiye realized the situation once Armenian terrorists targeted Turkish diplomats with assassination attempts. The motive of the terrorists was to take revenge for the incidents that had supposedly occurred during World War I and to attract the attention of the world to the Armenian claims.
After the coup on 12 September 1980, Türkiye started to give more importance to the Armenian claims. Many scientific studies about World War I and the Armenian claims thus began to appear to so as to reveal the truth countering the Armenian accusations. Symposiums, conferences, and workshops were organized. Turkish universities also opened a new perspective to the subject by allowing students to write their postgraduate dissertations about matters involving the Armenian question.
Avrasya İncelemeleri Merkezi (AVİM) [The Eurasia Investigation Center] was the most consistent and hardworking institution against the Armenian claims in Türkiye between 2008-2022. AVİM published books and reports to point out the nonsense of the Armenian accusations based on documents and genuine studies. The conferences and workshops AVİM organized became places where international researchers could share their studies regarding the Armenian question. At the same time, AVİM published and continues to publish two journals: Ermeni Araştırmaları [Armenian Research] and Review of Armenian Studies. These two journals are the only ones in Türkiye to adress the Armenian question.
Between 2008-2022, Turkish universities organized symposiums and conferences about the Armenian question and published the submitted papers as books. The Turkish Historical Society and Atatürk Research Center in particular directly supported these initiatives. The organized symposiums, conferences, and workshops peaked in 2015, with the number of activities dropping significantly after 2015.
The greatest contribution to studies against Armenian question in Türkiye have come from postgraduate dissertations. Studies from Turkish-Armenian Relationship Research Centers in Erzurum Atatürk University and Sakarya University should be mentioned in this regard. These postgraduate dissertations cover very different aspects of the Armenian question.
Official publications have also occurred during this period. The Directorate of State Archives published two new books between 2008-2010, as well as the book Tehcire Giden Yol[ The Road to Deportation] has been published in 2016. In 2022, the book Ermeni Sevk ve İskanının Yasal Dayanakları (1876-1935) [The Legal Basis of the Armenian Deportation and Resettlement] was published by the same institution.
The reason for the low number of publications about the Armenian question by the Directorate of State Archives may have been due to the normalization process between Armenia and Türkiye that began in 2008.
The Turkish Historical Society’s activeness in organizing symposiums and conferences and in publishing books about the Armenian question between 2008-2022 is important to note. Even though their “Armenian question desk” was closed and academic staff had been dismissed in 2008, a new initiative began in 2013. With the purpose of preparing for the centenary of the 1915 incidents, scholars from different universities formed a new Armenian question desk. Professor İbrahim Ethem Atnur, Professor Musa Şaşmaz, Professor Taha Niyazi Karaca, Professor Mustafa Çolak and Assoc. Prof. Recep Karacakaya worked for nearly a year on the Armenian question.
A positive development in Türkiye’s position toward the Armenian question is the attitude of the Directorate of Communications. The Directorate has become very active in recent years over the Armenian question. They should put more weight on this subject and become the institution that plans the activities that need to be done.
Türkiye’s policy changes regarding the Armenian question between 2008-2022 directly affected the number of studies on the subject. Since 2002 Türkiye has changed its position on the Armenian question with the idea that normalizing the Armenian diaspora and Armenian relations could solve the problem. Türkiye’s attempts at normalizing remained unanswered and also negatively affected relations between Türkiye and Azerbaijan.
Despite all the attemps by Türkiye at normalization, the centenary of the 1915 incidents was used by the Armenian Diaspora and Armenia to defame Türkiye and Turks. The difference between the perspectives of the both sides is so great that there is little to no hope exists that reconciliation could happen in the short term.