Showing posts with label Orhan Pamuk. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Orhan Pamuk. Show all posts

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Turkey: Genocide Was In Algeria

French lawmakers have drafted a law that would make it illegal to deny that it was genocide when Armenians were killed by Ottoman Turks in 1915.

Turkey cut diplomatic ties with France, Turks are protesting and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan responded with, "Approximately 15% of the population of Algeria have been subjected to a massacre by the French starting in 1945. This is genocide." Erdogan called the bill "politics based on racism, discrimination and xenophobia," according to the two-paragraph story in the Chicago Tribune.

Well, Merry Christmas. All I know is that racism, discrimination and xenophobia brought way too many of our forebears to America.

The BBC states that Ankara says close to 300,000 Armenians died in 1915-1916, while Armenians put the number at up to 1.5 million. The New York Times' reporter in Istanbul writes, "Turkey acknowledges atrocities without any specific death toll, but says that they did not constitute systematic genocide."

The Times piece notes that Orhan Pamuk, the Nobel-winning fiction author from Turkey, recently was fined about $3,700, for telling a Swiss newspaper that "we have killed 30,000 Kurds and 1 million Armenians."

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Armenians & Turkey

A documentary called "Aghet: A Genocide" about the deaths of Armenians in Turkey before 1923 will be aired at Columbia University Dec. 7 and in Chicago Dec. 12. It's a taboo subject that must be discussed. The German filmmaker, Eric Friedler, used archival sources including film reels and testimonies from witnesses. The Turkish responses include Turkish Minister Cemil Cicek, who said of genocide, "We the Turkish people will never accept such a charge. We have the cleanest past. No one has the right to make such accusations against us." (That's from subtitles of clips on YouTube.)
The documentary explores the denial of what happened and explores the political backdrop. It also discusses the murder of an Armenian-Turkish journalist Hrant Dink in Istanbul in 2007 and the need for speech freedom in Turkey.
There's a lot of buzz about the end of the Ottoman Empire of late: this week, the Turkish government returned an orphanage confiscated from the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate. In early 2011 Martin Scorsese & Co. are re-releasing the movie America, America on DVD; it deals with the deaths and expulsions of Christian minorities in Turkey during the same period. Filmmaker Elia Kazan's relatives were among those minorities as were mine.

December 7, 2010 – 7:30 p.m.
Columbia University School of International & Public Affairs (SIPA),
410 West 118th St., Room 413, New York, NY

December 12, 2010 – 2:00 p.m.
Illinois Holocaust Museum,
9603 Wood Drive, Skokie, IL

It's 90 minutes, in English. For showtimes in other cities, see the Armenian Weekly article

Monday, December 29, 2008

Istanbul Snow

Snow was a metaphor Turkey's best-known author, Orhan Pamuk, used to convey a deep disconnection in his novel of the same name. It snowed here today and it's apropos for me in Istanbul, in good and bad ways. First the bad: my friends in Israel are plowing ahead with plans for New Year's eve and parties for a wedding, as they must. But I feel like mourning for more than 300 dead in Gaza. And I feel cautious about getting closer to it all. Yet life is as usual today on the Bosphorus, and Turkey is a peaceful VERY Muslim country, as the constant call to prayer and VERY present headscarves remind. In some kind of oblivion to all this, the ships continued to glide past on the Bosphorus this morning as I sipped breakfast tea on the rooftop, accompanied by spicy feta, a boiled egg and some trahana soup with lemon. The sun was shining, but tiny snowflakes looking more like ashes fell too. Energized -- no get lag at all today -- I walked through the Blue Mosque it is full of beautiful Iznik ceramic tiles with turquoise designs, soaring ceilings with round domes, and intricate stained glass. Had to take our shoes off and it is bitter cold here, but thankfully the prayer space is carpeted. Then off to the grand bazaar, a covered maze of glass-enclosed shops dripping with jewelry, fabric, blue ceramic tiles and bulbous glass votives that truly look best in groups of 20, from afar. There are mosques surrounding the bazaar, and the prayers to Allah seem to creep out of crevaces deep inside the maze of narrow lanes and odd wooden courtyards that date back to the early 1900s. I only talked with men all day; all were VERY friendly without being pushy, and I bargained fairly well. But there are no bargains here, as far as I can tell. The damned euro is worse than the Turkish lira, which I got and spent at the I bought some pretty "Roman" glass beads from Afghanistan at a shop run by a Turkmenistani father and his young sons (photo below). They gave me a pretty good deal, so I promised to promote their Website: Hanaka Collection.