Turkey shows progress, says Armenian historian Raymond Kevorkian
ISTANBUL – Hürriyet Daily News
Armenian-descent French historian Raymond Kevorkian says the conference held on Islamized Armenians is a result of Turkey’s positive progress in democracy, but remains pessimistic about the country to take any step towards breaking “dogmas” regarding the 1915 incidents before its 100th anniversary.
“Turkey has been changing for the good and it would be unfair not to see that, this conference is a result of that,” Kevorkian told Hürriyet Daily News on the sidelines of three-day conference regarding Islamized Armenians that started Nov. 2 in Istanbul.
“Within the past seven years, important parts of the Prime Ministry state archives have been opened,” said the French historian, who is best known for his book on the issue, “The Armenian Genocide: A Complete History.”
He noted he is closely watching the data obtained from the research done by using archives and there are new, significant documents among them.
Despite hailing the opening of archives, Kevorkian implied he still does not expect drastic moves from Turkey before the 100th anniversary of the 1915 incidents, which is anticipated as a breaking point for Armenian diaspora.
“2015 is an opportunity to break this dogma, but Turkey doesn’t look like it will take a step toward it,” he said.
“Of course as a historian, I’m not the person to tell Turkey what to do, but the first gesture could be a return of cultural assets and protection,” he added, when asked about what the Armenian diaspora could demand from Turkey in 2015.
Speaking about the idea of the establishment of a Historian’s Commission to be consisted of the two countries’ historians, Kevorkian said he is completely against the formation of a commission under a state’s guidance.
“Historians should be independent; they don’t wait for the state’s approval to start working. Besides, we, Armenian and Turkish historians, are already in cooperation and congregate together in scientific meetings,” he said.
“Moreover, there is no need to discuss the presence of the Armenian genocide as the result is obvious. The Armenian genocide is a reality acknowledged by the international community as well,” he added.
The idea of a formation of such a commission was first planted among a historic protocol signed by Turkey and Armenia to normalize bilateral relations, which was never realized.
A number of prominent Turkish, Armenian and international academics, as well as Armenians living in several Turkish provinces will be gathering at Boğaziçi University in Istanbul for the conference, which ends today.