Memorialization and Democratization in Turkey

Harun Ercan

I. Memorialization: Concepts and Definitions

The basic definition of memorialization is “the process of creating public memorials.”[1] The crucial aspect of this definition is its emphasis on the public nature of memorialization efforts and their accessibility to all citizens, which distinguishes them from memorial efforts in the private sphere. A more detailed definition of memorialization is “A process that satisfies the desire to honor those who suffered or died during conflict and as a means to examine the past and address contemporary issues. It can either promote social recovery after violent conflict ends or crystallize a sense of victimization, injustice, discrimination, and the desire for revenge.”[2] Memorialization connects the past with the present and reasserts the connection between the victim(s), mourner(s), and the society at large. Nevertheless, a memorialization effort, in our definition, goes beyond merely remembering; it is part of a larger struggle for recognition of truth, provision of justice, and non-discrimination—all of which are necessary, ultimately, for the broader project of democratization.

It would be misleading to claim that all memorialization efforts would serve for consolidation of democracy in a particular country. The “reconstruction of memory” has always been used as a tool by political organizations, especially nation states, to solidify power and create a national identity at the cost of distorting historical truths. It is therefore necessary to distinguish the constructive memorialization efforts defined above and the other instrumental approaches to memorialization. In this regard, the main purpose of pro-democracy memory paradigm is “to promote a culture of democratization, in part by creating a ‘never again’ mentality. Depending heavily on cultural and other methods of educating and reminding people about the past, this paradigm also relies substantially on documentary evidence.”[3] Overall, pro-democracy memorial initiatives can be distinguished by their focus on human rights violations, unlike most state-sponsored memorial projects.

Focusing on human rights violations is a primary criterion for distinguishing pro-democracy memorialization efforts from others. Such efforts make true differences for the people living in political regimes in transition. The impacts of pro-democracy memorial efforts are as follows: “Memory, as perpetuated through processes such as memorialization seen in national monuments, re-naming of streets, commemorative celebrations etc., can assist divided societies to re-write the narratives of the past; recognize and assist survivors of human rights violations to begin the process of healing; and assist the previously divided society in processes of reconciliation.”[4] In order to deepen the discussion about the functions of memorialization efforts, beginning with clarification of particular concepts will be illuminating. In this vein, Table 1 will be helpful to distinguish the terms “memorialization,” “public memorials” and “sites of conscience.”

 

Public memorials are physical representations or commemorative activities that concern events in the past and are located in public spaces. They are designed to evoke a specific reaction or set of reactions, including public acknowledgment of the event or people represented; personal reflection or mourning; pride, anger, or sadness about something that has happened; or learning or curiosity about periods in the past. Memorialization is the process of creating public memorials.Sites of Conscience are public memorials that make a specific commitment to democratic engagement through programs that stimulate dialogue on pressing social issues today and that provide opportunities for public involvement in those issues.

Table 1. Sites of Conscience, “Memorialization and Democracy: State Policy and Civic Action”

 

II. Memorialization and Democracy

While there are many cases in which pro-democracy movements effectively use memorial efforts to come to terms with the past, it is not an a priori truth that all memorialization efforts by civil society actors contribute to democratization processes. Therefore, it is crucial to show the conditions under which memorialization efforts might have a positive impact on the level of democracy in a particular country. To start with, the main questions at stake is what the role of memorialization efforts is in the course of transition of undemocratic political regimes that has perpetrated civil wars, conflicts and/or gross human right violations to functioning democratic regimes.

There is a vast literature and an endless discussion on the definition of democracy. Despite most widely acknowledged approaches on democracy provide valuable insights[5], explaining core principles and the mechanisms of a working democracy will be more enlightening to weigh the role of memorialization in the larger picture. Robert Dahl suggests five criteria to define the relationship between the individual and the political regime in a democracy: (1) effective participation, (2) voting equality, (3) enlightened understanding, (4) control of the agenda and (5) inclusion of adults.[6] To grasp what democracy is, the main emphasis of Dahl’s approach is on the need for going beyond procedural terms of democracy such as existence of fair elections and freedom of expression. Therefore, active participation of individuals into political processes under equal opportunities with an enlightened understanding as well as frequent access to political decision-making processes are crucial for democratic regimes.

What is the role of memorialization in the process of democratization? First of all, memorialization is one of the necessary but not sufficient mechanisms in the process of transitional justice during the democratization of conflict-laden regimes. Memorialization helps to make possible the transition from a devastated, divided society to a peaceful democratic society by restoring collective memory. Looking at the potential of memorialization in Figure 1 can be helpful in understanding how it can contribute to post-conflict reconstruction.

On micro level, memorialization efforts create important changes in the lives of victims of human rights violations, since their suffering is recognized; this fosters the healing process for the victims. On macro level, memorialization efforts can contribute to democratization processes when they are in line with the effective participation and enlightened understanding mechanisms that are necessary for successful democracies. Certain elements of memorialization process such as recognition, truth-telling and setting the historical record straight and promoting a new national identity, are directly correlated with the enlightened understanding. Moreover, civic engagement, which aims to end culture of silence in the society, pertains to effective participation mechanism of democratic regimes. Grassroots movements play a key role to increase the level of democracy in a given political regime with memorial efforts aiming to spread awareness of past human rights violations and to enlighten younger generations about historical wrongdoings. Refuting historical untruths and creating symbolic as well as concrete memorial sites, supported by social actors such as victims, pro-democracy movements and NGOs, fulfills the ”effective participation” criteria.

Overall, the connection between memorialization and democracy can be summarized as follows: Memorials attempt to create awareness of actual history, which leads to groups taking responsibility, gives victims a feeling of justice/recognition, allows great honesty and collaboration in the public sphere, leads to changes in institutions to prevent recurrences. Otherwise, the culture of silence prevents people in the society from coming to terms with past human rights violations.

III. What (not) to Memorialize

a. The Form of Memorialization Efforts

Memorials can take a wide variety of forms: “From formal museums and monuments that evolve over years and cost millions of dollars, to ephemeral collections of condolence notes, flowers, and pictures of victims at sites where they died or vanished.”[7] Therefore, rather than describing the entire range of possible memorials one by one, dividing them into categories would be more beneficial.

1. Permanent: This category includes most popular memorials. The main criterion is a physical presence in a particular spatial environment that does not change over time. Monuments, statues, museums, sites of conscience and etc. are the most prevalent examples of permanent memorialization efforts.

2. Dynamic: Such memorialization efforts cannot, by nature, be defined according to fixed time and space constraints. Despite sharing similar purposes with permanent forms of memorial efforts, they do not promise a physical presence throughout time. Demonstrations and marches during anniversaries, political art works, etc. are examples of these dynamic forms. The logic and kinds of dynamic forms of memorialization are summarized in the following way: “Anniversaries of particular events such as coups, deaths, births, uprisings or the founding resistance groups produce public responses as part of the process of producing new truths about the past. Political rallies and marches, public art and concerts, and street theater commemorate past events […]”.[8]

b. The Content of Memorialization Efforts

It is equally difficult to classify memorialization efforts according to their content, purposes or the ideas that give rise to these works.

Power-holders generally instrumentalize history as a way of justifying their hold on power. Public memorials are one means of ensuring that their version of history dominates the symbolic space. Among the best examples of the use of history—and memorials—in this way are nation-state projects. Especially in those countries witnessing domination of one particular ethnic-religious group over the others, in the process of creating national identities, state-led identity conception can dominate public sphere while excluding representation of others. Here, a public monument “represents a collective recognition—in short, legitimacy—for the memory deposited there.”[9] Such collective recognition might not, however, resonate with communities whose memories are not recognized by power holders, where memorial sites are imposed on these communities. Thus memorials that create a direct or indirect sense of superiority of one particular identity over others do not contribute to democratic transition. In Turkey, non-Muslims and Kurds are hardly happy with predominant memorialization efforts, which are designed, generally by the state itself, to support the official Turkish state ideology and promote the superiority of Turkish identity. Therefore, in addition to questioning the form of a memorial project, it is crucial to consider the purpose and process of creating a public memorial, and whether such a memorial is “legitimate” in the minds and hearts of the people who share the same history or physical environment.

Therefore, a project focused on memorialization endeavors in Turkey must begin by asking what to include and what not to include in the project. This requires analysis of both the content and the form of public memorials, with special emphasis on the function or contribution of the memorial to the country’s democratization process. In this regard, “Deliberate local, national, and international strategies are required to ensure that memorials do not undermine other democracy-building efforts but rather complement such initiatives.”[10] Therefore, projects in line with state ideologies that claim superiority of one particular ethnic/religious group over the others and has no respect to basic human rights principles should not be included in a project on memorialization.[11]

Some factors to consider in creating memorialization projects in Turkey include the following:

  1. Pro-democracy memorialization efforts must focus on cases in which human rights violations have taken place.
  2. They should be realized by actors(c) or institutions who/which include victims or survivors of rights violations in the design process of the memorial.[12] If the victims cannot be involved directly, social groups or institutions able to represent the victims must be involved. However, there may also be projects that involve majority groups memorializing their acts against minority groups; in that case, the involvement of victims may not be as crucial to the project.
  3. They must not raise any claims about the superiority of any political and/or social groups over others. Moreover, they must not oppose ethnic or religious diversity. In other words, they should make no claims of ethnic or community based superiority. “Memorials that trumpet ethnic superiority (in the former Yugoslavia or Rwanda, for example) may deepen divisions and even provoke violence.”[13]
  4. They should include public memorials that commemorate events in which human rights violations were embedded or protection of basic human rights of people/communities was not fulfilled by the state.
  5. They should enable community involvement; indeed, they should rely on grassroots movements and/or NGOs.
  6. They must primarily aim to commemorate or dignify people or communities. In other words, the very basic purpose of the work should be to memorialize. They should not be merely fact-finding or reporting human rights violations (that is, simple human rights reports are not memorialization efforts unless created in contexts where they will have the effect of memorialization projects).

IV. Conceptualizing Memorialization Projects in Turkey

Most memorialization projects come into being either in the context of transitional justice processes or in the course of regime transformations. The main conundrum in the nexus of memorialization and current conditions in Turkey has to do with the fact that the Turkish political regime has not yet come to terms with its own past.  Therefore, the concepts used in the more general literature on memorialization may not offer an effective framework for memorialization endeavors in Turkey. The Turkish case more closely resembles the experience of memorialization in countries such as Russia, Israel (regarding memorialization of acts against Palestinians), or other places in which governments remain hostile to certain readings of history.

Overall, it is possible to establish two main categories of extensive human rights violations in the history of Turkey.

1. Political Rights Violations: Gross human rights violations have taken place in Turkey mainly during regime transitions, when military coups were carried out. Massive human rights violations have been more salient when the level of democracy has decreased in the country, mainly under the leadership of the Turkish Armed Forces. Four military interventions have occurred in Turkey: [1] the May 27, 1960 coup; [2] the March 12, 1971 memorandum; [3] the Sept. 12, 1980 coup; [4] the so-called post-modern coup on February 28, 1997. Thousands of people from different political and social groups have been subjected to political rights violations by the Turkish state. Nevertheless, in terms of the quantity of violations, leftists and socialists have generally been the main political group targeted by the state.

Despite only crucial milestones in the political history of Turkey mentioned above, political rights violations also continued during so-called civilian rule that was under the tutelage of Turkish military. Judiciary always remained under the influence of the army as well and not only targeted the leftists but also the Kurds and Islamists which peaked during the 1990s. Despite it is still debatable into what extent the AKP comes to terms with past wrongdoings of Turkish Armed Forces, it is for sure that the military influence on politics and judiciary weakened considerably in recent years.

In the last 50 years, there have always been a substantial number of imprisoned people just because of the absence of freedom of expression in Turkey. Especially, oppositional and/or left-wing writers, intellectuals and journalists have been the main target of the state in this regard. During the first quarter of 2013, there were about 70 journalists incarcerated with accusations pertaining to their journalistic works.

2. Ethnic/Religious Violations: These violations mainly involve oppressed ethno-national or religious groups in Turkey. The main groups that have been subjected to gross human right violations in the history of Turkey include:

  • Armenians
  • Greeks
  • Kurds
  • Alevis
  • Jews
  • Assyrians
  • Circassians/ Cherkess,
  • Variety of other ethnic/religious groups

The historical dynamic that gave rise to the grievances of these communities, as well as to gross human rights violations, is related to the nation-state consolidation process in Turkey. Beginning in the early decades ofthe twentieth century, the state pursued a hegemonic project aimed at ethnically homogenizing Anatolia to ensure Turkish supremacy. Armenians were subjected to genocide in 1915, while a majority of Greeks were deported from Anatolia in the 1920s. At the same time, property owned by these communities was confiscated; this remains a contentious issue today. The remaining populations from these non-Muslim communities continued to experience high levels of repression throughout the Republican Era (1923-2012). Thrace Events (1934) targeting Jews, discriminatory Wealth Tax (1942) imposed on non-Muslims, the 6-7 September Events (1956) targeting Greeks and many other incidents showed that communities that were not ethnically Muslim Turkish would be subjected to assimilation/suppression policies.

The Kurdish question emerged as an ethnic conflict in the same period, also due to the attempt to consolidate Turkish supremacy in Anatolia. The very existence of the Kurds was denied from the time of Turkey’s establishment; their collective rights were not recognized at all, especially after early revolts were suppressed by the state.  Kurdish rebellions, such as the Seikh Said (1925), Ararat (1928), and Dersim (1938) revolts, resulted from the Turkish state’s imposition of a single identity and its refusal to grant political representation to the Kurds. Although Kurds remained silent for several decades, after peaceful demands were suppressed in the 1960s and 1970s, they resorted to armed struggle. A civil war broke out in the 1980s that became particularly fierce in the 1990s; nearly 40,000 people died, some 2 million people were forced to leave their homes, and thousands of civilians were killed by the Turkish state. Despite decades of conflict, this ethno-political question remains unresolved. Yet the so-called Kurdish opening in the last decade, in which the government has made at least token moves to de-escalate the conflict, could foster a significant democratization process, which would also gave rise to memorialization efforts.    

Overall, the different trajectories of the political processes experienced by non-Muslims and Kurds have also influenced the public memorials created by or about these communities. The Kurdish context is quite lively, since it boasts a dynamic political process, in which Kurds act in a quite organized way as part of a social movement and have a highly interactive relationship with their past.[14] For non-Muslims, however, deportation, massacres and constant repression by the Turkish state as well as by civilian actors has rendered them quiescent, keeping them from risking the creation of public memorials or sites of conscience.

The fact is that no substantial democratization process has taken place in Turkey that might create a fruitful environment for memorialization endeavors. In other words, political dynamics have not fostered such a democratic change, since Turkey has not experienced a regime transition such as Chile or other Latin American countries and democratization is still in progress. For example, despite gross human rights violations in Diyarbakir Military Prison (1981-84), which are recognized by the current government, and a serious demand to turn this prison into a site of conscience, the AKP government plans instead to renovate the building and use it for educational purposes. The government’s unwillingness to transform Madimak Hotel, in which 33 Alevi intellectuals were burned alive, into a site of conscience confirms that state political actors tend to block demands for memorialization coming from the grassroots level.

Since Turkey has not yet experienced a substantial democratization process, interest in the creation of sites of conscience—that is, deliberate memorialization projects to encourage democratic engagement and promote the “Never Again!” message–is low. This is true of both the Kurds and for non-Muslim communities in Turkey. Nevertheless, erratic and limited democratization has been the case for many other countries and the struggle for memorialization does not have to wait for an increase in the level of democracy, rather, struggle for memorialization should persist, in a way supporting and bearing this process.

3. Violations of the Rights of Minorities by Non-State Actors: Although we have so far analyzed only the historical relationship between the state and non-state actors in Turkey, it is also important to focus on interactions among the oppressed groups (that is, non-state actors), since some of these groups have been involved in violent campaigns against each other. For example, in the course of the Armenian Genocide in 1915, a substantial segment of the Kurdish population of Eastern Anatolia supported the genocide, either by killing Armenians themselves, forcing them to leave their homes, or remaining silent. This collaboration resulted from the re-activation of the Islamic bond between the Ottoman Empire and the Kurds during 1876-1924. Although there are no academic studies as yet showing the extent of Kurdish involvement in the genocide, most oral histories and testimonies indicate that Kurds were part of this process.

Another minority group that played a role in the process of genocide was the Circassians, who were co-opted into the Ottoman state structure following their migration to Anatolia after the Crimean War (1856). Some of the government officials who were most insistent about deporting Armenians and murdering Armenian deputies were Circassians. The Ottoman government utilized some of these ethnic and religious groups, while others had their own reasons for wanting the Armenians eliminated. It is important to consider whether any hope for recognition of past atrocities or memorialization efforts might emerge from within the context of violations by non-state actors.

Moreover, in the course of armed conflicts between the Turkish Armed Forces and the Kurdish movement, Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) attacked on Kurdish civilians as well (mainly unarmed relatives village guards), who were claimed to be collaborators of the Turkish state, especially during the late 1980s. Despite such practices of the PKK is assumed to lessen in the 1990s, true humanitarian cost of the civil war for civilians is still a debatable issue awaiting the truths to be revealed.

4. Continuation of Hatred or Love and Forgiveness?

Although the process of ethnic and religious homogenization in Anatolia witnessed numerous brutalities and extensive human rights violations, it is important to acknowledge local actors who struggled to prevent those rights violations, or at least protected the victims. In the Armenian Genocide, it is possible to trace the ways in which Muslims attempted to protect Armenians from the massacre. One of the well-known examples is Haji Halil of Urfa province, who secretly protected seven members of an Armenian family by hiding them under the roof of his house for a year.[15] A number of Muslim office holders also acted in altruistic ways: for example, Jelal Bey, the Governor of Konya and Hasan Mazhar, the governor of Ankara refused to obey an order from the central government to deport Armenians; the governor of Kutayha province prevented the deportation of 2,000 Armenians to the Syrian deserts; and there are many similar cases.[16]

While the Turkish state has been quite vocal in denying the Armenian genocide and the grievances of the Armenians, the Kurdish movement in Turkey and a substantial segment of the Kurdish population have taken the opposite position. In this regard, Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) has supported the struggle for recognition of Armenian grievances. More concretely, Kurdish politicians have made various public speeches that recognize the atrocities of the state towards Armenians.[17] Despite the Kurdish movement recognizes the massacre committed against Armenians, there has not been any serious attempt to concretize this approach via memorialization efforts. On the other hand, in 2009, a group of intellectuals in Turkey started a petition campaign called as “I Apologize!” that aimed to spread consciousness about the Armenian genocide and achieved to get widespread media coverage as well as active participation of thousands of people through petitioning. Moreover, civil society actors also initiated a commemoration for the victims of genocide at Taksim square, which started in 2009 during the anniversary of abduction of Armenian politicians, intellectuals and community leaders in 24th of April in 1915 who were imprisoned, exiled and disappeared by the Ottoman security forces thereafter.

V. Memorialization and Appropriation of Space in Turkey

In the last 10 years of AKP rule in Turkey, those in power have shown themselves less resistant to calls that they address past human rights violations. A new political strategy has been employed, which differs from the traditional Turkish state discourse denying the existence of past human rights violations. The AKP has followed a pragmatic path so far, which means coming to terms with the past as long as this would benefit the AKP’s political interests. The best example is Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan’s public apology for the 1938 Dersim Massacre in 2012. At the same time, rigid denial of the Armenian Genocide, continuation of impunity for perpetrators of Sivas Massacre and no apology for Roboski massacre has also continued during successive AKP governments. Although the AKP’s pragmatic maneuvers have created the environment for lively discussion of past atrocities, the party in government is not equipped with a democratic perspective that would go beyond constrains created by the ideology of AKP, that is Turkish/Islamic synthesis. Therefore, the AKP employs a pragmatic discourse about the past human rights violations of Turkish state and current discussions remains on debating level and never reaches to a concrete level.

While opposition movements in Turkey have raised a variety of demands in the last decade, they have failed to channel the struggle into more concrete forms. A memorialization project in Turkey might therefore fruitfully focus on the connection between grassroots movements and appropriation of space. Although the notion of appropriation of space pertains to achieving certain goals much bigger than creating memorial sites, one aspect of appropriation of space for a movement is creating “spaces of visibility and solidarity.”[18]

Current conditions in Turkey require an elaborate analysis of the nexus between democratization and memorialization. On the one hand, the political regime in Turkey does not directly foster memorialization projects or create a suitable environment for actors or institutions that make demands in that respect. On the other hand, Turkey is experiencing a process in which many discussions on past human right violations are being held. Yet, although the political realm in Turkey has engaged in discussions–even on the macro political level-about past atrocities in Turkey, neither the government nor opposition groups have developed concrete memorialization projects. It is hard to claim that opposition groups seeking a more democratic environment in Turkey have seriously struggled to transform the public sphere to create public memorials. Therefore, one of the primary goals of this project is to place memorialization on the agenda of NGOs and grassroots organization by increasing awareness of the connection between democracy and memorialization. Thus, political actors in Turkey who advocate the rights of victims might create a new method of struggle for democratization by enlarging their repertoire of action through memorialization efforts.[19]

VI. The Model Suggested

Memorialization initiatives that can be included in this project should rely on works being concrete and permanent/dynamic as well as being accessible to everybody.  Since the philosophy of memorialization relies on creation of memorial sites, memorials that cannot be accessed by ordinary people can be excluded.

In Turkey, many memorial sites do not permit easy classification of certain events or persons using victim/perpetrator or civilian/soldier dichotomies. Therefore, we suggest a third category: “contested events/persons.”

[A]. Public memorial done by:

 [1] State-led and/or [2] Community developed and/or [3] NGO-led and/or [4] Municipality

[B]. Memorial dedicated to:

[1] Victims/Civilians or [2] Soldiers/combatants or [3] Contested events/actors

[C]. The form of memorialization is:

[1] Permanent or [2] Dynamic (i.e. Political art works and Exhibitions or commemorations) and[20]

[1] Constructed Sites: [Museums and commemorative libraries, Monuments, Walls of names of victims]

[2] Found Sites: [Graves, Locations of mass killings or genocide, Former torture centers/concentration camps]

[3] Activities: [Anniversaries of coups, battles, or other actions related to the conflict, Temporary exhibits, Renaming or rededicating streets, buildings, or infrastructure, Walking tours or parades, Demonstrations and vigils, Public apologies]



[1]Brett S. et al, “Memorialization and Democracy:  State Policy and Civic Action”, report from the conference held on June 20-22, 2007 in Santiago, Chile

[2] Judy Barsalou and Victoria Baxter. “The Urge to Remember: The Role of Memorials in Social Reconstruction and Transitional Justice” Stabilization and Reconstruction Series, No. 5, January 2007, p. 1

[3] Judy Barsalou and Victoria Baxter, 2007, p. 10.

[4] CVSR, “Memory and Memorialization”, < http://www.csvr.org.za>

[5] According to Charles Tilly, democracy is defined as “the extent to which persons subjects to the government’s authority have broad, equal rights to influence governmental affairs and receive protection from arbitrary governmental actions.” Charles Tilly. Regimes and Repertoires. (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2006), p. 26. In other words, consultation and protection are two main standards for measuring the level of democracy in a given political system. While this provides a macro-level definition of democracy, the mechanisms of a working democracy are not delineated.

[6] Dahl, Robert A. On Democracy. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1998), p. 85; “What Political Institutions Does Large-Scale Democracy Require?” Political Science Quarterly\ 120: pp. 187–197.

[7] Judy Barsalou and Victoria Baxter, 2007, p. 4.

[8] Louis Bickford, “Memoryscapes,” in The Art of Truth-Telling after Authoritarian Rule, Ksenija Bilbija, Jo Ellen Fair, Cynthia Milton and Leigh Payne, eds. (University of Wisconsin Press, 2005).

[9] Sanford Levinson, Written in Stone: Public monuments in changing societies (Durham & London: Duke University Press, 1998), 63.

[10] Brett S. et al, p. 2

[11] A look at memorialization attempts that are not intended to foster a culture of peace and democracy in Turkey reveals that they are generally state-led and serve the interests of a particular ideology by distorting historical facts and making the past compatible with official state discourse on past occurrences.

[12] Louis Bickford. “The Power of Memorials”. Human Rights, Justice and the Struggle for Memory, 29 March 2005, ICTJ/JICA Conference  Lord Charles Hotel, Cape Town, South Africa

[13] Ibid

[14] When analyzing public memorials emerging from within the Kurdish context, we see that most aim to dignify and commemorate victims of war. A question to consider is whether memorials should be restricted to dignifying and commemorating victims, or should have a wider function of creating awareness and fortifying democratic institutions.

[15]Taner Akçam,  İnsan Hakları ve Ermeni Sorunu, İstanbul: İmge Yayınları, 1999

[16] Interview with Raymond Kevorkyan. “Celal Bey ve Diğerleri”, Radikal Iki, 26.02.2006

[17] For example, in December 2012, Sırrı Sakık, deputy of pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) made a speech in the Turkish parliament and used the notion of “Armenian massacre” to refer the genocide that caused serious tensions and discussions between BDP deputies and the others.

[18] Zeynep Gambetti,  “Politics of Place/Space: The Spatial Dynamics of the Kurdish and Zapatista Movements,” New Perspectives on Turkey, No. 41, Fall 2009, p. 43-87

[19] Kurdish movement has been quite interested in looking at the South African case for inspiration from the peace process. It might be fruitful in this regard to emphasize the role of memorialization in the South African democratization process, which used memorialization quite broadly: “The past can be reinterpreted to address a wide range of political or social needs—recasting “subversives” as martyrs or innocent victims, for instance, or consolidating a new national identity, such as the transformation of South Africa from apartheid state to “Rainbow Nation.” Memorialization thus represents a powerful arena of contested memory and offers the possibility of aiding the formation of new national, community, and ethnic identities”. Judy Barsalou and Victoria Baxter, 2007, p. 4.

[20] Judy Barsalou and Victoria Baxter, 2007, p. 5.