"Chasing Dreams"—an interview with Ece Temelkuran by New Left Project
The New Left Project website have published an in-depth interview with Ece Temelkuran about her book, Deep Mountain, by Jamie Stern-Weiner:
You say that in Turkey people are encouraged to be indifferent to the issue—you write in the book that "a nation can forget en masse". What are the mechanisms by which this takes place?
There is huge propaganda in the schools against Armenians, but it's not only that. It's on the street, it's everywhere. ‘Armenian' is a curse word in Turkish, still. And when you ask people about Armenians, you get this blank expression. It's like you've entered the wrong password and their brain just stops, and the password is ‘Armenian'. They go blank.
Especially in south-east Turkey, when you see an Armenian church and ask about it people will say ‘oh, it's prehistoric', although it dates back only to 1915. And when you insist on this question—‘this is an Armenian church', ‘where are the Armenians?', etc.—if they don't get angry with you they will say, ‘oh, the Armenians are gone. They are gone.' And if you ask, ‘where did they go?' ‘They went over the bridge'. And beyond that, it's blank again. In Istanbul there are many Armenian buildings and you don't really see them or think about them.
It's not only about Armenians though. 1923, the year of the establishment of the Republic, is considered to be Year Zero. There was nothing before that. We built up this grandiose republic, which was completely clean and completely young. It's this quite ambitious attitude that was present through the nation-building process.
Visit New Left Project to read the interview in full.