Policy Memos

Breaking the Nation's Taboo: Meds Yeghern and Turkish Intellectuals

Policy Memo:


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On December 12, 2008, a group of Turkish intellectuals launched an internet campaign to apologize for the World War I-era slaughter of Armenians in Turkey. Significantly, the “apology campaign” did not employ the highly disputed term “genocide” (soykırım), opting instead for a Turkish translation of the term commonly used in the Armenian language, the “Great Catastrophe” (Meds Yeghern or, in Turkish, Büyük Felaket). Signatories to the apology declared: 

My conscience does not accept the insensitivity [shown in] the denial of the Great Catastrophe that the Ottoman Armenians were subjected to in 1915. I reject this injustice and for my share, I empathize with the feelings and pain of my Armenian brothers and sisters. I apologize to them. [...]

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About the author

Research Fellow
Institute for Archaeology and Ethnography, Armenia