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Det skjer en forsiktig tilnærming mellom Armenia og Tyrkia. Ikke-statlige grupper som går foran. Det sivile samfunn er blitt større og sterkere i Tyrkia, men folkemordet er fremdeles svært touchy.

Den kjente tyrkiske forfatteren Orhan Pamuk skrev sist måned i en sveitsisk avis at en million armenere ble drept i Tyrkia. Det ble ramaskrik. Han ble truet på livet, og stevnet for retten for å vanære den tyrkiske stat.

Armenians say the Ottomans killed 1.5 million of their people from 1915 to 1923 through deportations and mass killings in what is now eastern Turkey. Armenians have been waging an international campaign to have this recognized as genocide; more than a dozen nations do so today. Turkey rejects the genocide claim. It admits that Armenians were killed but disputes the number and says that the deaths were unorganized and part of wider regional violence that also affected Muslim Turks.

Until recently, the Turkish state’s official version of events was all that could be aired publicly. But observers say that democratic reforms – many of them the result of pressure by the EU – have created more space for public debate on the topic.

«The level of education has gone up and civil society has expanded, so the state can no longer dominate and monopolize the public sphere,» says Muge Gocek, a Turkish sociologist who is the co-organizer of the Workshop for Armenian-Turkish Studies, an annual gathering of Turkish and Armenian scholars.

In an unusual turn, Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan called last week for a study by Turkish and Armenian historians of claims of genocide at the hands of Ottoman Turkish troops. The Armenian Foreign Ministry has rejected Mr. Erdogan’s proposal.

Ustun Erguder, a Turkish political scientist and member of the Turkish Armenian Reconciliation Commission, a group of academics and former diplomats from both sides, says the association of the word «genocide» with the barbarity of Nazi Germany makes the claim hard for Turks. «I think Turks have come a long way even to say, ‘We did something wrong to the Armenians.’ «

Vel, det hører med til historien at datidens tyrkiske herskere hadde tyske rådgivere. Gjerningsmennene søkte asyl i Tyskland, og Hitler lot seg inspirere av folkemordet, så sirkelen var sluttet.

In Turkey, taboo lifts over past treatment of Armenians | csmonitor.com