Here's something that bothers me. I think it's great that many Turkish colleagues are coming forward about their journeys of enlightenment, and their experiences, regarding the Armenian genocide. I hope this trend continues apace. But there's a flip-side to this: if you are a
Greek, Armenian, Levantine, etc "minority" person from Turkey, and you've been saying these things for decades, and paid a significant price only to be met with the idea that "Well you're Armenian, of course you're going to say that," as if your professionalism is under question
because of your identity, when you see the exclusive lionization of Turkish scholars as heroes for something they have discovered recently, it starts to make you think. You weren't good enough for that scholarship, that fellowship, that postdoc, that immediate book deal, that
media attention on your work all these years because of who you were. If you had only been Turkish when you said, researched, wrote such things, you would have become a worldwide sensation too, but alas, you are from the groups that suffered in the genocide, the decades of
oppression that came after that, etc, so you are not to be taken as seriously as other scholars from Turkey on these matters. This "football fan" worldview and mentality of scholarship means that for your courage in voicing things in difficult times, for the prices you've paid,
you get zero recognition, while you watch people who surfed through life blissfully unaware of these issues suddenly become the new heroes and flag bearers of the field. You approach their work like any other, evaluate it on its own merits, and you're glad that this is happening.
But there is always that awareness that this has also become an "easy" way for opportunistic characters to jump on the wagon you and many others before you were carrying on your backs for many years. They get the triumphal march on the wagon while you've been crushed under it.
In a sense, this is the continuation of cycles of dispossession, appropriation, opportunism, privilege you've witnessed your entire life; except this time, your "outsider" status comes back to haunt you for a second run. It is difficult to digest all this when you see people who
were 20-30 years ago routine genocide deniers or at best utter ignoramuses about the plight of the minorities in the country at the Turkish equivalent of Ivy League, people who heard of Askale from you first and did not believe you, people who endlessly parroted the official
litany, becoming "heroes" for their "courage" in finally acknowledging the genocide as "Turks." Welcome among us.
You can follow @AxelCorlu.
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