Ümit Kurt to Speak on Turkish Genocide Denial


Umit Kurt

Umit Kurt

FRESNO — Clark University doctoral candidate Ümit Kurt will attempt to answer the question “Why Does Turkey Deny the Armenian Genocide?” in a talk by at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, February 10, in the University Business Center, Alice Peters Auditorium, Room 191, on the Fresno State campus.

The lecture is the third in the Armenian Studies Program Spring 2016 Lecture Series, with the support of the Leon S. Peters Foundation.

One of the most important — and possibly the most sensitive — landmarks of modern Turkish history and the formation of Turkey’s political and socio-cultural climate is the Armenian Genocide. By the same token, this issue is a taboo in Turkish political history. The question widely asked is “Why does Turkey deny the Armenian Genocide?” This question should be examined at two levels: state and society. It is correct to say that there has been a strong state denialism of the Armenian Genocide in Turkey. Yet, one should also bear in mind that this strong state denialism has also been supported and reinforced by different sections of society. In this lecture, Kurt will analyze societal dimensions of Turkish denialism of Armenian genocide and also explore the reasons behind Turkey’s inability to come to terms with its past.

Kurt is a PhD candidate at Holocaust and Genocide Studies Program in the History Department of Clark University and completing his dissertation. He has written extensively on confiscation of Armenian properties, Armenian Genocide, early modern Turkish nationalism and Aintab Armenians. He is the author of the Great, hopeless Turkish race: fundamentals of Turkish nationalism in the Turkish homeland 1911-1916 (Istanbul: Iletisim Publishing House, 2012) and editor of the Revolt and Destruction: Construction of the state from Ottoman Empire to Turkish Republic and Collective Violence (Istanbul: Tarih Vakfi Publishing House, 2015). He teaches history at Sabanci University in Istanbul and is the author, with Taner Akçam, of The Spirit of the Laws: The Plunder of Wealth in the Armenian Genocide (New York and Oxford: Berghahn Books, 2015).

The lecture is free and open to the public.