This collection of information on memorial projects in Turkey highlights positive examples of memorialization among the many groups and individuals that have suffered harm or grievance over the past 100 years in the late Ottoman Empire and the Turkish Republic.
The number and variety of examples exceeded our original expectations and showed that a real need exists among formerly persecuted minorities, as well as the Turkish majority population, to commemorate “dark spots” in Ottoman and Turkish history, as a first step in creating a shared historical narrative
This project is a collaboration between the World Policy Institute in New York, the Fetzer Institute in Kalamazoo (Michigan), and Hafiza Merkezi in Istanbul. It grew from the realization that Turkey shares many features with other societies moving from oppression and violence into a more peaceful, democratic future.
The initial project idea was suggested by Belinda Cooper of the World Policy Institute after attending Hafıza Merkezi’s first workshop on Memorialization in December 2011. To further explore the many questions surrounding memorialization and the ways in which it can contribute to human rights and democracy which came up during this first workshop, we organized a follow-up workshop in Mardin in February 2013 that brought together Turkish participants from various political, ethnic and religious groups with an interest in memorialization.
We also invited experts on memorialization from Germany, Israel, and Bosnia – three countries that are also grappling with difficult and contested histories. This website is an outgrowth of that workshop. It provides information on the many initiatives throughout Turkey that seek to address historical events that have been denied, repressed, or misinterpreted.
These efforts may be controversial, and not all are equally successful. But the very act of grappling with history in new and honest ways, we believe, is a step towards a more democratic and just society in which all groups and all people are respected and heard.
For more information please visit the website at http://www.memorializeturkey.com/en/