Over the last forty years, the Holocaust has become a distinct aspect of Western culture and a universal lesson for protection of minorities and human rights. By contrast, the Armenian genocide is still being denied by Turkey and a culture of commemoration which is lagging far behind. Beyond the reason for differences between memory practices, I argue that a stronger culture of commemoration of the Armenian genocide would have twofold benefits.
The “frozen” Nagorno-Karabakh conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan existed for 26 years being neither at war nor at peace, with no diplomatic relations. What has changed over the past years so that a new all-out war erupted unexpectedly between the conflict parties in late September: military balance, geopolitical balance – or what else?
Nun ist es also passiert, was die nicht eben zahlreichen Beobachter des Konflikts um Bergkarabach seit Jahren prognostiziert haben: Ohne einen ernsthaften Verhandlungsprozess wird es früher oder später zu einem neuen Krieg zwischen Armenien und Aserbaidschan kommen. Dass dieser lange Jahre „eingefrorene“ Konflikt dauerhaft ruhiggestellt werden könnte, war und ist eine große Selbsttäuschung – der Armenier, aber auch der drei Vorsitzenden der sogenannten Minsker OSZE-Verhandlungsgruppe Russland, USA und Frankreich.
All around the globe the Armenian Diaspora has been campaigning in their respective countries to recognise the massacres of 1.5 million Armenians in the Ottoman Empire in 1915 as genocide. This year marks the 105th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide but the successor state of the perpetrator – Turkey – continues labelling it as “so-called“ genocide. After many years of hesitation, Germany became the 25th country to officially adopt a resolution to recognise the Armenian Genocide in 2016. How has this step impacted the perspectives of the Armenian community in Germany?
The Armenian Genocide or, as it is labelled in mainstream Turkish discourse, the “so-called Genocide,” continues to fuel political tensions, both internationally and at home. Use of the G-word by governments worldwide invariably provokes a reaction from Ankara, whose genocide denial continues to shape and colour Turkish foreign policy as well as domestic matters. Strikingly enough, however, the most important institution of the Armenians in Turkey has also participated in the politics of denial in recent years. How do the politics of such genocide recognition and denial play out, and what do they imply?