The Ergenekon gang, named after the legendary retreat of the Gktrk (Sky Turks), was blamed to plan ‘a coup d’tat for 2009’ with ‘the purpose of creating chaos in the country and thus an atmosphere suitable for a military takeover.’In this context, it is important to remember that the Turkish republic is built by the military in a War of Independence. The importance of the military as the guarantee of the state is still visible even in the expression of non-military associations. Just one example: A poster of the Aydn Chess District Representative in 2009 shows Atatrk in front of marching soldiers saying ‘The Turkish nation loves its armed forces; and regards it as the preserver of its ideals.’The fear of the nationalists, the military as well as the bulk of the population is still that Turkey could be split and fall apart. This scenario is worked out in the novel ‘Metal Frtna’ (‘The Metal Storm’), published in winter/spring 2004/2005 by Orkun Uar and Burak Turna. In this paradigmatic fiction, US forces invade Turkey in 2007 in order to ‘divide Turkey between Greece and Armenia and also allow for the emergence of a Kurdish state.’31 The importance and effect of the book on the public is shown by the fact that it ‘sold about 500,000 copies.’It is obvious that the year 2005 marks a turning point in the debate between the nationalists and their opponents. On the one hand Dink and his 38 Power and Powerlessness of Intellectuals in Turkey supporters (as afak and Pamuk) published columns and novels and gave interviews. Concomitant with this, they challenged the powerful. On the other hand, the nationalists faced the challenge and reacted. They wanted to prosecute these crimes and discovered a powerful ally, the law. The increase of the liberality in the group of intellectuals of the more left-leaning opposition resulted in even more accentuated expressions of the nationalist movement.
6. Indications for a Change in Power In the hours after Dink’s killing, hundreds gathered spontaneously in Istanbul’s central Taksim Square. In the evening they marched from there to Dink’s office in ili chanting: ‘We are all Armenians! We are all Hrant Dink!’ On 23 January 2007, more than 100,000 people escorted Dink’s coffin repeating the same slogans ‘We are all Armenians! We are all Hrant Dink!’ The solidarity Dink did not receive in his lifetime was shown for him after his death. Taner Akam, one of Dink’s close friends, is convinced that the intellectuals marched as they felt ashamed. Pamuk expressed his concern in a similar way. One day after his murder, he visited Dink’s family to express his condolences.
Dink’s death did not change the fundamental convictions. The clash within the Turkish society, described by afak as ‘a collision between those who are state-oriented and those who are civil-society oriented’ is going on.Reflecting the last eight years from the perspective of the antinationalistic intellectual movement, the year 2005 can be marked as the year of confrontation. The murder of Dink in 2007 happened on hatred and desire for vengeance. In this respect, the year 2007 can be called the year of shame.
In opposite, the year 2009 is a year of change.
On 6 September 2008, President Abdullah Gl went to Yerevan to watch a football match between Turkey and Armenia in order to qualify for the 2010 FIFA World Cup. Despite of all historical grievances and against the opposition’s resistance, Gl accepted an invitation by the president of Armenia, Serge Sargsyan.34 It was the first ever visit of a president of Turkey to Armenia.
In December 2008, a group of at first 200 Turkish intellectuals published the following apology:
My conscience does not accept the insensitivity showed to and the denial of the Great Catastrophe that the Ottoman Armenians were subjected to in 1915. I reject this injustice and for my share, I empathize with the feelings and pain of my Armenian brothers and sisters. I apologize to them.Georg F. Simet By March 2009, this petition has been signed already by over 30,000 Turks around the world.Gl’s football diplomacy achieved concrete political results, too. On 10 October 2009, the foreign ministers of Turkey and Armenia signed two protocols on establishing diplomatic ties and developing relations between the two countries.These protocols could be an important step towards the fulfilment of one of Dink’s dreams. As Taner Akam reported about his last talks with Dink, it was Dink’s wish to open the borders in order to bring the people together. He believed that the offsetting of misconduct (in the past) is not as important as a mutual understanding (now). Today, Armenians do not know much about Turkey and Turks know almost nothing about Armenia. This is to be changed. The Islamic politicians from the AKP and the antinationalistic intellectuals try this challenging way. They deserve our support.
Notes S Rosenkranz ’Sprachrohr der Unsichtbaren’, in Stern.de, 19 January 2007, viewed on 25 January 2010, http://www.stern.de/kultur/buecher/henrinannen-preis-sprachrohr-der-unsichtbaren-560802.html.
H Dink, ‘A pigeon-like unease of spirit’, in Opendemocracy.net, 22 January 2007, viewed on 25 January 2010, http://www.opendemocracy.net/ democracy-turkey/pigeon_4271.jsp. ; H Dink, ‘The Pigeon-like Unease of My Inner Spirit’, in Qantara.de, viewed on 25 January 2010, http://en.qantara.de/webcom/show_article.php/_c-476/_nr-714/i.html.
Bilgen-Reinart, ‘Hrant Dink: forging an Armenian identity in Turkey’, in Opendemocracy.net, 7 February 2006, viewed on 25 January 2010, http://www.opendemocracy.net/democracy-turkey/dink_3246.jsp.
F Corley, ‘Hrant Dink: Armenian Champion in Turkey’, in The Independent on Sunday, 22 January 2007, viewed on 25 January 2010, http://www.independent.co.uk/news/obituaries/hrant-dink-433200.html.
M Keunen, ‘Cartoons Illustrate Lack of Press Freedom in Turkey’, in Nrchandelsblad, 4 February 2009, viewed on 2 February 2010, http://www.nrc.nl/international/Features/article2134063.ece/Cartoons_illustra te_lack_of_press_freedom_in_Turkey.
International Freedom of eXchange, ‘Two Sentenced for ‘Insulting Turkishness’ as European Court Rules Against Turkey’, in Ifex.org, October 2007, viewed on 25 January 2010, http://www.ifex.org/turkey/ 2007/10/16/two_sentenced_for_insulting_turkishness.
40 Power and Powerlessness of Intellectuals in Turkey ibid.
R Lea, ‘In Istanbul, A Writer Awaits Her Day in Court’, in Guardian.co.uk, 24 July 2006, viewed on 25 January 2010, http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/ 2006/jul/24/fiction.voicesofprotest.
O Leonidas, ‘Freedom of Expression in Contemporary Turkey: Beyond Article 301’, in Blogs.eliamep.gr, 2 September 2009, viewed on 25 January 2010, http://blogs.eliamep.gr/en/oikonoleon/freedom-of-expression-incontemporary-turkey-beyond-article-301/.
BBC News, ‘Top Novelist Acquitted in Turkey’, in News.bbc.co.uk, September 2006, viewed on 25 January 2010, http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/5366446.stm.
S Fowler, ‘Turkey, a Touchy Critic, Plans to Put a Novel on Trial’, in The New York Times, 15 September 2006, viewed on 25 January 2010, http://www.nytimes.com/2006/09/15/world/europe/15turkey.html.
S Rainsford, ‘Turkish novelist case collapses’, in BBC News, Istanbul, September 2006, viewed on 25 January 2010, http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/ europe/5366048.stm.
S Kleid, ‘Elif Safak: The Bastard of Istanbul’ (Book Review), in Kqed.org, 27 March 2007, viewed on 25 January 2010, http://www.kqed.org/arts/ literature/article.jspessid=14802.
S Fowler, op. cit.; R Lea, op. cit.
S Fowler, op. cit.
E Shafak, Bastard of Istanbul, Penguin Books, London, 2007, pp. 53-54.
A Chrisafis, ‘Turkey Warns France over Armenian Genocide Bill’, in guardian.co.uk, viewed on 25 January 2010, http://www.guardian.co.uk/ world/2006/oct/11/turkey.eu.
I N Grigoriadis, Upsurge amidst Political Uncertainty, Nationalism in post-2004 Turkey, SWP Research Paper, Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik, German Institute for International and Security Affairs, Berlin, 2006, p.13, viewed on 25 January 2010, http://www.swp-berlin.org/common/ get_document.phpasset_id=3380.
G Othman, ‘Ohran Pamuk, the Armenian Genocide and Turkish Nationalism’, in Asianews.it, 18 May 2009, viewed on 25 January 2010, http://www.asianews.it/index.phpl=en&art=15272.
Hrriyet nternet okurlar, ‘Nobel’e ‘Ermeni’glgesi dt’, in Hrriyet, October 2006, viewed on 25 January 2010, http://www.hurriyet.com.tr/ gundem/5246961.aspm=1&gid=112&srid=3428&oid=1.
ISTANBUL Milliyet, ‘Trkiye’nin NOBEL yorumu’, in Milliyet Online, December 2006, viewed on 25 January 2010, http://209.85.
Georg F. Simet D Zaptcioglu, ‘Der verlorene Sohn, Pamuk und die Trken’, in Spiegel.de, 13 October 2006, viewed on 26 January 2010, http://www.spiegel.de/kultur/ literatur/0,1518,442333,00.html. Spiegel Online International, ‘Turkey Drops Orhan Pamuk Trial, Avoiding EU Condemnation’, 23 January 2006, in Spiegel.de, viewed on 26 January 2010, http://www.spiegel.de/international/ 0,1518,396786,00.html.; A Flood, ‘Pamuk ‘Insult to Turkishness’ Claims Return to Court’, in Guardian.co.uk, 15 May 2009, viewed on 26 January 2010, http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2009/may/15/pamut-insult-turkish ness-court.
H Dink, ‘I Have the Right to Die in the Country I was Born In’, in Bilkent.edu.tr, 25 January 2007, viewed on 26 January 2010, http://www.bilkent.edu.tr/~crs/hrantdink.htm. The journalist’s last interview he granted to Ellen Rudnitsky and Mirko Schwanitz, International Organization of Journalists, two days before he was murdered.
I N Grigoriadis, oc. cit., p. 15.
Today’s Zaman Istanbul, ‘Ergenekon coup planner called army friends for help’, in Today’s Zaman, E-Gazette, 30 January 2008, viewed on 22 January 2010, http://184.108.40.206/searchq=cache:tWtACF7Cma4J.
Aydn Satran l Temsilcilii, ‘30 Austos Zafer Bayrami Turnuvasi’, in Aydinsatranciltemsilciligi.com, 30 August 2009, viewed on 26 January 2010, http://www.aydinsatranciltemsilciligi.com.
I N Grigoriadis, op. cit., pp. 13-14.
ibid., p. 14.
E Shafak, ‘There Is No Clash of Civilizations’, in Qantara.de, 2005, viewed on 26 January 2010, http://www.qantara.de/webcom/show_ article.php/_c-476/_nr-459/i.html.
M Zambak, Football diplomacy between Ankara and Yerevan, in AsiaNews.it, 9 May 2008, viewed on 26 January 2010, http://www.asianews.it/index.phpl=en&art=13141.
Destekleyenler, ‘Ermenilerden zr Diliyorum’, in Ozurdiliyoruz.com, December 2008, viewed on 26 January 2010, http://www. ozurdiliyoruz.com.
A Gakavian, ‘A Genocide, a Turkish Apology and an Armenian Thank You’, in Garoon Monthly, Sydney, March 2009, viewed on 26 January 2010, http://www.realchange.nareg.com.au/documents/Armenian_TurkishRelations _2009Feb.pdf.
Auswrtiges Amt, ‘A New Chapter in Turkish-Armenian Relations’, in Auswaertiges-amt.de, 12 October 2009, viewed on 26 January 2010, http://www.auswaertiges-amt.de/diplo/en/Laenderinformationen/Armenien /091012-tuerkei-armenien-annaeherung,navCtx=34882.html.
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