In her book ‘Euphorie und Wehmut’the Turkish journalist and author Ece Temelkuran, in writing about Turkey’s search for itself, discusses how there is no real struggle to overcome, or even confront the negative aspects of the country’s past. The “Vergangenheitsbewältigung”, which you find in Germany, is avoided and there are no “Stolpersteine” for the Armenians, or anyone else, who has disappeared. Indeed, the Turkish state not only denies the Armenians a memorial, but it also refuses to recognise the genocide whiich led to their disappearance.
By failing to come to terms with, and tackle the past, the horrors of “yesteryear” will be repeated. Indeed, they are being repeated and what Ece Temelkuran might refer to as a collective loss of memory facilitates the creeping authoritarian state that defines today’s Turkey, which, along with with attacking opposition media, is effectively attempting to wipe out Kurdish national identity. The author’s analysis is, therefore, accurate.
Nevertheless, the author might be criticised for her almost appearing to see this as something unique to Turkey and, while Ankara’s repression of its Kurds, and other minorities, and of its opponents, is certainly facilitated by this whitewash of the past, it is not so very different from the continuing ethnic cleansing of Palestine, being made possible by ignoring the very fact that the Zionist state is itself built on stolen land.
Indeed,with the majority of people in the UK actually proud of the British empire, with the United States still agressively pursuing empire, and with the ‘People’s Republic of Amnesia’ about to usher in China’s century, the list is endless, and for every “Stolperstein” dotted around Germany and Austria, there is a village in Palestine that has been razed to the ground and disappeared under a planted pine forest , a burnt out Armenian village in Anatolia, a culture sacrificed to global capitalism, and an indivdual who died or disappeared on, or near, a now quiet Tiananmen Square.
By ignoring history Erdogan’s Turkey might achieve its dream and metamorphose into a new authoritarian empire, the British can continue to be proud of their empire while bombing innocents in foreign lands, Washington is able to continuing pursuit of its full spectrum dominance while preaching democracy, Israel can continue to ethnically cleanse Palestine, and the capitalist system can continue to prosper in a a very obvious pseudo-democratic framework, which will in fact contain an authoritatian state and new model for a dystopic “brave new world.”