TTK chief Metin Hülagü denied that the body had been “profiling” scholars. AA Photo
The Turkish Historical Society (TTK) has been “profiling” scholars and students working on the Armenian issue, weekly Agos has reported.
According to the report, the TTK demanded the names, contact information and area of study of PhD and master’s degree students from the Higher Education Board (YÖK).
TTK chief Metin Hülagü denied that the body had been “profiling” scholars, but admitted that they gathered information on academic work.
“This fabricated story is an urban legend. They don’t use the real meaning of ‘profiling.’ As the TTK we never profile, we are an academic institution. Profiling is a hot topic these days and somebody wants us to be a part of it,” Hülagü told the Hürriyet Daily News.
“As the TTK, we carry out these works in cooperation with universities and we release some researchers’ books,” he said, adding that the work of his society was to focus on all kinds of subjects, including the Armenian issue.
However, two academics, who spoke to the Daily News on condition of anonymity, said they were not surprised that their information had been sought by official bodies, but added that the TTK’s involvement was surprising.
“As university researchers, we already knew that YÖK was doing profiling about those of us who were doing research on the Armenian issue, but we are really surprised to hear that TTK was also involved,” said one Turkish historian.
He added that in recent years many young Turkish historians had been conducting research on the Armenian issue, but had concerns about their future career in Turkey because of their chosen research topic.
“The young generation of Turkish historians wants to break the ‘Armenian taboo’ [in Turkey],” he said, urging Turkey to face “the reality” and leave behind “100 years of denial politics.”
Another historian, a 35-year-old currently completing his doctorate degree in the Netherlands, said he had moved out of Turkey because of such concerns.
“I couldn’t continue researching in an atmosphere like that,” he said.
Vercihan Ziflioğlu from the Istanbul office contributed to this report